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Historical Background

Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL) was formed in April 1982 by bringing together the Aero Bioengineering Unit (ABEU) located in ADE campus and the Electromedical Instrumentation Division (EMID) of LRDE located at LRDE campus. The Laboratory started functioning from its own independent premises located at the ADE campus with effect from 17 June 1994. Today DEBEL is one of the few DRDO laboratories dedicated to both R & D work for the Services and also Technology spin offs for civilian application.

The genesis of research and development in Bioengineering and Electromedical Technology related to Defence can be traced to two units. In 1958, a very small group called Aeromedical Section was formed as part of DTD&P (AIR), Ministry of Defence, New Delhi. It functioned from the premises of the then Institute of Aviation Medicine (IAM), Bangalore. In 1974, it was renamed as Aero Bioengineering Unit (ABEU). In 1980, it was brought under the Directorate of Food and Applied Sciences, DRDO. It shifted to an accommodation in the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) Complex, CV Raman Nagar, Bangalore, in September 1980. During this period, the unit had been undertaking indigenization of aircrew flying, protective and survival clothing and equipment for the Air Force, Indian Navy and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bangalore.

When the Electronics Research and Development Establishment (LRDE) was formed in 1958, it had a special equipment division called EMID which was also in charge of the R&D activities related to Electro-medical Equipment. A modest programme for the design and development of a small number of biomedical instrumentation as well as personal protective systems for aircrew was initiated. The broad specialized areas of work scheduled to be taken up in the future included Aeromedical Engineering & Life Support Systems, NBC Protection, Underwater Systems and so on.

The then Scientific Advisor, Dr. Raja Ramanna, in 1982, visualized that a complex R&D activity of this nature, involving multidisciplinary fields, can make rapid progress to meet the challenging requirements of Service Combatants, only when the concerned groups operate under one roof with special impetus. Hence, in January 1982, EMID was transferred with its staff to ABEU. Thus was born the Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), in April 1982, by the merger of ABEU and EMID. The Laboratory started functioning from its own premises located at the ADE campus with effect from 17 June 1994 and is rigorously pursuing R&D activities in the above mentioned areas of specialization and more.

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