An intracollegiate competition that was designed to test the mind, the Strathclyde MIT Mukti Challenge was conducted by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland for students pursuing their final-year B.Tech. in Biomedical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology. Praneeta Konduri and Srinidhi Ragunathan emerged winners.

The participants were expected to summarise their views on the current facilities for amputee rehabilitation in India, provide innovative and realistic methods to maximise outreach and also propose new strategies to achieve the same. “We proposed a scheme that would considerably increase the outreach, especially in the rural areas. We focussed on the administrative aspects and explained new methods of manufacturing prosthetics and orthotics in order to offset the cost of establishing this system,” says Praneeta, while Srinidhi adds, “To show the implementation of this scheme at the State level, we even provided them with an example. The competition was quite challenging as we were given just a weekend to develop and summarise our ideas.”

Learning experience

Both got the opportunity to visit the Department of Biomedical Engineering in Strathclyde for a week, and spent the next week at The Mukti Clinic in Chennai. “The first week was a classroom programme, where we learnt about designing prosthesis and orthotics. We were taken on a tour of the National Centre for Prosthetics and Orthotics (NCPO) and the Bio-Engineering Department of the university. We also had the opportunity to interact with firms like Taylarmade, Ossur and LL Prosthetics and Orthotics,” say the winners. They were also taken on visits to research facilities like the AFRC (Advanced Forming Research Centre), DMEM (Design Manufacturing and Engineering Management) Design Suite and GAIT Analysis Labs. “We were provided with an outline of the strategies and schemes that Scotland adapts to provide rehabilitation facilities to amputees. This project provided an amalgamation of technical and managerial aptitude,” says Praneeta.

At Mukti, the students helped the NCPO students in manufacturing splints and prosthesis for the patients. “The foundation caters to a section of the people who cannot afford high-end prosthesis. Those who work here are extremely selfless, committing themselves to such a noble pursuit and it was great working alongside them,” says Srinidhi.

After their enriching experience, Praneeta wants to pursue a master’s degree in medical image processing and eventually work in the field of diagnostics while Srinidhi is looking at studying image processing or prosthetics and orthotics.