In a packed pitch session at EY last night, eMotiongait – a wearable tech for artificial limbs – took out first prize of $15,000 of services as well as a ticket to pitch in the national comp in Adelaide…
At the culmination of their 6-month Perth Biodesign course (for med tech entrepreneurs) medical device startup JR-TeCH won the judges over with its eMotionGait product, a wearable technology for prostheses (artificial limbs).
For above knee amputees, prescribing a suitable prosthetic is a difficult process and it can be even more troublesome for the wearer who can suffer discomfort, instability or a fall. This leads to 11-22% of patients abandoning their prosthesis altogether.
The JR TeCH team, made up of Ronan O’Neill, Caroline Chapman, Hayley Cullen, Tim McLennan and James Charleson (see photo below) developed a wearable device that enables 24/7 data collection to inform the specialist or doctor about the prosthesis and give support for the amputee.
The team – made up of researchers, lab managers, med students and engineers – met for the first time when the course kicked off session in June.
JR TeCH was one of five teams who presented at last night’s pitch event. Winners of the audience prize, Urfree presented an alternative urinary catheter designed to increase comfort and decrease infections, particularly for patients with chronic urinary incontinence.
This complex, technical area was exceptionally well-delivered by the youngest participant of the course, 19 year old finance and medical science student Sara Sukudom.
The five teams each presented new solutions for a range of medical issues, which also included burns first-aid, rehabilitation compliance and measuring bone depth in wrist fracture surgeries.
“After 5 months of hard work, all the teams identified strong unmet clinical needs and presented innovative solutions to address them at the Perth Biodesign final presentations last night and so it was difficult for our judges to choose an overall winner,” said Course co-director, Dr Matthew Oldakowsk.
“However, JR TeCH provided a very compelling need and an elegant solution with their technology eMotionGait and were a well deserving overall winner. Urfree, who won the People’s Choice award, identified the potential to improve the lives of an underserved patient population with their technology, Continence+.”
Perth’s Biodesign course is based off a similar course that has run at Stanford University for 17 years, which has produced multi-billion dollar companies.
In late 2017, Matthew spent six months at Stanford being trained in the program, returning to Perth in June this year to run the course alongside his partner Intan Oldakowska, an experienced biomedical engineer and entrepreneur.
In related news, SPARK Co-Lab has closed its doors. Established in 2015, it morphed into Perth Biodesign in 2018 which is run by Accelerating Australia, a national consortium of medical and clinical organisations.
Expressions of interest are now open for the 2019 Perth Biodesign course here.
MAIN PHOTO: James Charleson mid pitch. Photo ~ Rhys Woolf.