A Vasai-based startup, supported by Indian institutes Bombay and Patna, offers a range of affordable prostheses that incorporate features such as the sense of touch.
Robo Bionics, a start-up run by alumni of IIT Patna and the University of Mumbai, was one of 15 start-ups selected in August under the StartupToScaleup program sponsored by the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Government (GOI) was supported. . The program gives young start-ups from the healthcare and edtech sectors the opportunity to spread their innovations on international markets.
Grippy – the product of Robo Bionics – is a range of inexpensive prostheses that are easy to use and also address some of the difficulties amputees face with both body-powered and externally powered prostheses.
Llewellyn Dsa, co-founder of Robo Bionics, began developing the technology after completing her M Tech on a robotic prosthesis at IIT Patna. Inspired by a colleague who had no hands due to a birth defect, she founded the company in 2016.
“When my team and I began researching the market for myoelectric hands (prostheses that use electronic sensors to detect muscle and nerve activity), we found that while they are available in the market, they have many drawbacks. They are heavy, have a steep learning curve, and are very robotic. To resolve this, at Robo Bionics we researched the market, customer vulnerabilities and technology to bring Grippy out, ”said Dsa.
While Grippy is affordable, it has features like tactile sense, grip control, and adaptive shape control that are unique to each user. While a basic Grippy prosthesis is priced at Rs 60,000, an advanced one can cost up to Rs 75,000. A professional licensed by the Rehabilitation Council of India will make the socket that connects the part between Grippy and the user’s hand. The cost of the socket can range from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 depending on the complexity.
The startup incubated at IIT Patna is supported by the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) of IIT Bombay and the Indian Research Assistance Council of the Biotechnology Industry (BIRAC).
“Our device is subjected to rigorous safety tests in a laboratory accredited by the National Accreditation Committee for Test and Calibration Laboratories in Pune. After that, we will make our Grippy, a high quality hand prosthesis from India, available to a limited number of users as a pilot study under the supervision of clinicians and professionals, ”said Dsa. The product, pending two patents, is expected to be launched in April 2021.