India is recognised the worldover as a pioneer in the field of low-cost innovation, be it Tata Motor’s Nano car or the government-aided Aakash tablet project, and now it is time for a hearing aid priced at Rs 2,000-3,000 to have a disruptive effect in the market.
“C-DAC has developed such devices which will cost between Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 for each million units produced. Hearing aid devices with similar features sell at a price between Rs 10 thousand and upward of Rs 1 lakh, which is out of Indian customers’ reach,” DIT Joint Secretary Ajay Kumar told PTI.
The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) started development of the affordable hearing aid under project ‘Tarang’, funded by the Department of Information Technology (DIT), and is currently conducting field trials, Kumar said.
“After completion of field trials, C-DAC will commercialise this technology for production within the country,” Kumar said.
He said the field trials will be finished within a year, after which the process of commercialisation will start.
“These devices are re-programmable, which means that a user will not have to buy a separate device if his/her hearing ability fluctuates over a period of time,” Kumar said,
CMC Vellore, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and others partnered with C-DAC to develop this hearing aid.
Project Tarang was conceptualised on the basis of a recommendation by an Inter-Ministerial Group with the objective of showcasing the capability of Indian technocrats to develop affordable medical devices without compromising on technology and quality.
“Simultaneously, we were looking for affordable devices for Indian customers. This will also help in curbing import of medical devices in the long run and promote electronic manufacturing in the country,” Kumar said.
The Indian medical electronics market is estimated to be worth around USD 2.5 billion and is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15 per cent. Out of this, 80 per cent of the products are imported, mainly from the USA, Japan and Germany.
A joint research report of the Indian Semiconductor Association and research agency Frost and Sullivan expects its size to grow to around USD 5 billion by 2020.
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