MYLEG – an early stage start-up based in Zurich at ETH – brought to the 9th MEDICA Start-up COMPETITION a neuroprosthesis system that employs non-invasive sensory feedback to improve mobility, and to promote cognitive prosthesis integration in people with leg amputation. The innovative team of 3 neural engineers made it to the finals on the main stage of the virtual.MEDICA CONNECTED HEALTHCARE FORUM, and stood amongst the TOP3 Medical Start-ups 2020.
1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF! – WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN YOU WORKING ON?
MYLEG is an idea and an innovative project born from the ETH Zurich Neuroengineering Laboratory with the aim of improving the quality of life of people after a catastrophic event such as leg amputation. The project started with three neural engineers (Dr. Giacomo Valle, Dr. Francesco Petrini and Prof. Stanisa Raspopovic) with years spent with patients trying to understand their needs and how technology could help them improve their walking ability and the perception of the prosthesis.
MYLEG aims to make its prosthetic devices feel like its own leg (MY-LEG) thanks to the restoration of the sensory flow coming from it. This sensory feedback system device ensures better use and integration of the leg prosthesis by the user. The idea started with an invasive approach (implantation of electrodes in the nerve of the stump) but MYLEG allows to provide similar benefits to patients even with a completely non-invasive approach. This can happen thanks to the unique technology we have developed.
2. WHAT ARE THE KEY MILESTONES YOU HAVE GAINED?
Recently, Dr. Giacomo Valle won the BRIDGE Proof-of-Concept in 2020 promoted by Innosuisse and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supporting promising projects that come from the University and want to reach the market. Innosuisse is also supporting MYLEG with its coaching program and experts network.
MYLEG is now looking for a good network of experts and investors who can help make this beautiful idea a reality. The sensory feedback system proposed by MYLEG has already been tested on leg amputees demonstrating the functional and cognitive benefits of using this technology. This makes us optimistic to be successful.
3. WHAT ARE THE LESSONS LEARNED TO MAKE IT WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
Thanks to the support of ETH Zurich and the host laboratory, we were able to create a functional prototype and test it with amputees. In particular, we have prepared and recently competed in Cybathlon 2020: Global Edition in the “Powered Leg Prostheses Race” of Team NeuroLegs winning the silver medal. This result was very important for us to demonstrate to everyone that this simple add-on for any commercial prosthetic device can be truly effective in daily activities, where it is of paramount importance for users. As this is a relatively simple technology that uses a non-invasive strategy, we have worked hard on IP to better protect our idea. We are panning to submit the patent on this technology until the end of this year.
4. HOW DOES YOUR FUTURE LOOK LIKE?
In the near future, we are planning to prepare a clinical study with a larger cohort patients in different hospitals to get our device certified. Obviously we need financial support to start this clinical trial and we are hardly working on that. To this end, we are proposing the idea and preparing a detailed business and financial plan. We are also currently looking for another co-founder with a complementary background to also have a strong help in preparing MYLEG for the market. Indeed, MYLEG is part of the Likeminded Program of BlueLion Zurich.
5. DESCRIBE YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE 9th MEDICA Start-up COMPETITITON AND STANDING AMONGST THE TOP3 WINNERS?
For MYLEG, this competition was truly a huge opportunity to get positive feedback on the idea and our plan for the next few years. After the contest we received many calls from potential interested investors and people who can help MYLEG become a real product. Being among the top 3 winners in Robotics increases MYLEG‘s credibility in front of investors and also for future competitions. Obviously, this year the possibility of networking was influenced by the situation and the virtual meeting, I hope that in the future the situation would be better to have the opportunity to meet again them but in person.
6. ANY ADVICE FOR OTHER START-UPS IN ORDER TO TAKE THE LEAD IN THE COMPETITION AND ATTRACT INVESTORS?
- Be dedicated, passionate and persist even after failures
- Find a right team of motivated co-founders
- Get ready to change your first idea after feedback from customers, investors and experts
THANKS FOR THE INSIGHTS AND WE SHALL KEEP WATCHING YOUR NEXT BIG STEPS!
Visit MYLEG and follow up with Dr. Valle for further collaborations. Check out their bionic leg that enables walking with instinct again!
Follow MYLEG, health tech start-ups around the globe join to the 10th MEDICA Start-up COMPETITION free of charge. Submit your solution in AI in healthcare, diagnostics, health apps & robotics, and take chances to scale up your business at the world’s hotspot for health innovation at MEDICA.