Defense Bioengineering and Electro-Medical Lab

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Last Updated: September 1, 2005
Other Name: DEBEL
Location: Bangalore (aka Bengaluru), India
Subordinate To: Ministry of Defence (MoD); Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)
Size: N/A
Facility Status: Active

Established in 1982 as a merging of the Aero Bio-Engineering Unit of the Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM) and the Electromedical Instrumentation Division of the Electronics and and Radar Development Establishment (LRDE). From here it grew into a full-fledged laboratory as part of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). By June 1994, the laboratory was moved to its current location in Bangalore. In 1998, the United States government placed sanctions on the institute following the Indian nuclear test. In 2000, those sanctions were removed.

The institute is the nodal agency of the Society of Biomedical Technology (SBMT), an inter-ministerial initiative carried out by the Government of India in an effort to utilize Defense technology spin-offs to produce low-cost healthcare systems. SBMT includes the DRDO, the Department of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Welfare, and the Ministry of Rural Development. The collaboration was launched in 1993 and is based at DEBEL in Bangalore.

The institute is currently working on the development of life support and protective equipment for the Armed Services. It is also developing, evaluating, and testing different biomedical equipment. It continues to work with industry in developing prototypes and manufacturing new equipment.

The institute has developed a number of products, including an ECG analyzer, a cytoscan, a stress test system, a High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPO) bag, and a Slit Lamp Microscope (SLM). Biomedical equipment, personal protection systems, and lifesaving devices have also been developed for the Armed Services. Protective equipment to protect individuals from thermal, chemical, and high-altitude stresses have been developed by the institute. It has also begun work on a "smart vest," which is a vest used to monitor the health of an individual using electromechanical systems. It is developing a cardiac risk analyzer to determine one's risk of cardiac arrest, as well as aircrew clothing and protective equipment.

The institute, in collaboration with the company PGIMS, is working on software for an interactive system that would connect hospitals to other hospitals, doctors with other doctors, and remote areas to central base Army hospitals for immediate consultations and treatment of patients.

The institute continues to interact with a number of other institutions and universities, including the Shri Jayachamarejendra College of Engineering (SJCE) at Mysore University. Cooperation also continues with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) at the University of Bangalore in doing research and development that addresses the scientific, technological, and development activities in the field of biomedical technology.

The institute maintains specialized equipment and facilities to aid in carrying out its research. These include a pressure breathing oxygen mask evaluator, a helmet tester, a anechoic chamber for the evaluation of earphones and microphones, a burn chamber for the evaluation of flame retardant fabrics, a static/dynamic material testing machine, a thermal chamber for the evaluation of psychological strain, a hydraulic vibration simulator, "G" system evaluation equipment, a semi-automatic anti-"G" suit test system, a CAD/CAM (computer aided design and manufacturing) workstation, and an optical distortion tester for visors.

The institute has hosted a number of conferences, such as the Symposium of Defense Research Technology Spin-offs for Medicare, National Conference on Biomedical Informatics, and Seminar on Technology Management in Healthcare Systems.

Sources:
[1] "Interactive Medi-software Developed," The Tribune, 3 February 2001, www.tribuneindia.com.
[2] Defense Bioengineering & Electro-medical Lab, www.drdo.org.
[3] Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), www.fas.org.
[4] "Aerospace Export Control Update," John Black & Associates, March 2000, www.blueridgestamps.com.
[5] "Defens Lab to Develop 'Smart Vest' for Health Monitoring," Express Textile, 26 June 2003, www.espresstile.com.
[6] "Extracted from INDMED," Indian Medlars Center, http://medind.nic.in.
[7] "Extracted from INDMED," Indian Medlars Center, http://medind.nic.in.

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