Solution overview

Our Solution

Neurobots

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Tagline

Recovering hand movements through exoskeleton and recognition of brain activation

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Pitch us on your solution

Neurobots was born to improve mental and physical health of people in cities and slums enabling equitable access to affordable and effective neural rehabilitation through home treatment.

Currently, physiotherapy clinics still use outdated techniques focused on the patient's muscle. In this way, the patients spend years with a little evident recovery.

A research (2018) showed that the brain computer interface is the most efficient technology in stroke recovery because it focuses on brain, the source of the problem.

Neurobots uses this disruption with an affordable way: The patient ask for treatment, while we deliver the equipment to a certified therapist to get the technology and treat at patient’s home.

Raimundo suffered stroke 9 years ago, tried to use all the usual methods but could not open his hand yet. With only 1 month with Neurobots treatment, he was able to open his hand and hold a book again.

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What is the problem you are solving?

Imagine that you are 43 years old, totally intellectually productive, but you have to become dependent for the rest of your life, because you spend more than a minute doing the simplest tasks, such as picking up a bean spoon. This is the problem faced by Madalena, and millions of other people who suffer stroke. This problem will affect 1 in 6 people (WSO), especially in the elderly, that currently faces this problem with no hope of returning to normal activities in the city. 

Many rehabilitation clinics still uses muscle techniques, but stroke is a brain lesion. Those techniques are not sufficient for chronic stroke recovery and have no impact in the patient's quality of life, producing imperceptible improvements of patients over the years.

Currently, stroke it is the disease with the greatest cause of motor disabilities in the world, every two seconds a new case of stroke is occurring somewhere. This causes a gigantic social and economic damage. For example, in 2010 it is estimated that $ 73.7 billion was the direct and indirect total cost in the United States. 

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Who are you serving?

Currently our client are the rehabilitation clinics. In Brazil there are 16 thousand rehabilitation clinics focused on stroke. It is a giant market as there are 16 million new patients every year. To evaluate the results, we made a clinical trial research with 21 patients. Since February, we started to rent the technology to local clinics, and the patient results are very impressive. They are very satisfied to make a much better service for the community. It was also important for us to hear the technical problems and suggestions about real clients and patients to improve the product, which is ready to scale now.   

Patients and families are desperate for new solutions, everyday we receive messages from patients and relatives to use Neurobots therapy on their treatment.

So our goal is to make an equitable and affordable effective rehabilitation service by improving the resources of any clinic from community to make elderly people can have an efficient motor recovery. 

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What is your solution?

Our goal is the rehabilitation of the hand affected by stroke. To achieve this, we use a technique capable to change neuronal connections, stimulating other pathways to perform the lost motor activity. The technique is known as Brain Computer Interface, which it is possible to control devices only with the brain.

To use our product, the patient will put brain sensors in the head through a cap, capable of acquiring the neural signals. Through the developed software, the patient is instructed to think of his hand affected by stroke as if it was functioning normally. The signals are sent to the computer, which the Artificial Intelligence manages to recognize this thought in the affected hand. By identifying the brain pattern, an exoskeleton that surrounds the patient's hand will open and close as soon as he can think correctly. The patient will spend around 40 minutes in this exercise, thinking about his hand, and receiving feedback from the software and the exoskeleton on his ability to imagine the movement.

Performing this exercise daily for only two weeks can provide an effective recovery of the hand affected by stroke, regardless of how long was the lesion.

We have the possibility of 3 business models:

  1. B2B (rehabilitation centers) - Already with incomes at brazilian market.

For a low rental price any clinic is able to use the technology with the best results in the scientific field. The clinic can treat more than one patient simultaneously, increasing the profits and results even for chronic patients. 

2. B2C (autonomous therapist) - Starting tests.

The patient no longer needs to move to the clinic, which is often a key factor, since the patient is usually elderly and not independent. Simply request via app for a Neurobots treatment session, a certified therapist picks up the equipment in the stock and will perform the session in the patient's home for an affordable value, divided in 50% between the therapist and Neurobots.

3. B2C (patient directly) - Tests in 2 year

Currently the software is already 100% automatic and simple. Any person could operate the equipment with a minimum of instruction. So will be a  cheaper process when the patient ask for the equipment to use by himself at home. In this case, there will be a cultural problem and confrontation with the rehabilitation professionals, so we will wait for the proper moment to start this business model.

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Which dimensions of the challenge does your solution most closely address?

  • Enable equitable access to affordable and effective health services
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Where is your solution team headquartered?

Recife - Paratibe, Recife - PE, Brasil
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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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More about your solution

Select one of the below:

New technology

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

At first time ever, the patient can have the most efficient therapy at home just calling the treatment online, and in 15 minutes a therapist will arrive with the technology to treat him.

 Therapists currently treat their patients primarily with manual therapies. As proven by Cervera, the Brain Computer Interface is a technology with a large degree of effect (0.79) compared to other usual methods (0.33).

 However, this technology can be found only in the field of research. Just one company, already applies the technique at their rehabilitation centers.

However, we have some advantages in relation to this company:

  1.  Automated and simple process: After the setup, the therapist could press play and start with another patient.
  2.  Scalable possibility: We can use our equipment with any individual professional, without the need to open clinics.
  3.  Evaluation feature: With our system the therapist will be able to evaluate all the evolution of the patient, will know how he has improved to perform the desired functions, and which areas of the brain has been changed in the process.
  4.  Cost: We have developed a low cost equipment, they use extremely expensive electrical stimulation  equipment (more than U$D 30.000), while ours costs U$D 500 monthly

Our next product, this is an exoskeleton for lower limb controlled by the brain. This is a worldwide innovation, not even g.tec already has a similar one. Our goal is at December of 2019 we have already developed this product.

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Describe the core technology that your solution utilizes.

We are a team of developers and researchers. We develop the 3 parts of the product:

1-Brain sensor: Electroencephalography (EEG) equipment has been commercialized for years, but we had to develop our own sensors to meet the specific needs of our field and reduce production costs, making a product commercially viable.

2-Exoskeleton: There are exoskeletons already developed for a lot of applications. But we also developed our own equipment, where we made it specific to a stroke patient, who has peculiarities that make size adjustment a critical factor, we have also developed a mechanism that uses only one motor to reduce costs.

3-Software: This is our biggest differential. We have been working for more than 3 years to develop an algorithm that has been able to identify the pattern of movement imagination with 96% accuracy with a patient. We have a PhD student in the team with a thesis for recognition of the brain pattern. We also simplify the utilization, any therapist in the world can start a session easily with only 2 minutes, without training or calibration of the user. And finally we have an evaluation tool, where the patient visualizes in real time his score in the capacity to perform the motor imagination, and can thus quantify his evolution with the treatment, important parameter to the patient, therapist and to the neurologist.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning
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Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

Madalena is a real patient who experienced 2 weeks of therapy with our method. She had suffered a stroke 2 years ago and had sequelae that prevented her from performing daily activities and work. Before our therapy, she took 5 beans in 73 seconds, after only 2 weeks she was already performing this same activity in just 9 seconds, allowing her to search for work again. Therefore, we offer the possibility to change patients' lives, to make them independent again, an immeasurable improvement in quality of life. As a result, the economy tends to improve as well, since as the example of Madalena, they can work and produce for their family and country again.

We have a low cost product, about just 500 dollars to produce in scale. Next year we pretend to get 3 millions of investment, which 1 million dollars will be used just to manufacturing, so we could produce about 2000 products. So our technique could reach any country. Each Rehabilitation Center or therapist with one product can treat about 40 patients per year. Each patients treatment impacts about 10 people, like family and job collegues. So with this first investment we could impact 800.000 people per year.

We will contribute enabling equitable access to affordable and effective health service in Neurological Rehabilitation. With Neurobots any individual professional or clinic could use the most effective technology and impact their city.

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Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Elderly
  • Persons with Disabilities
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Brazil
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Brazil
  • United States
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How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

We started to commercialize our product in march with 2 clinics to test the business model and prices. They treated 30 people, some with impressive results. Patients crossed Brazil to spend a week using our treatment. Some patients wanted to take our treatment to their states and cities.

We will finish these tests in July. In August we will begin to expand to other regions. We expect in one year to be in 300 rehabilitation clinics in Brazil. From this date we will seek an investment of 3 million dollars, where we will use a parcel to produce 2000 products, and can expand with 2 years of commercial activity. With 2300 clinics using our product in 2022, we have a recurring outcome of 1 million dollars. In 2024 we will have 10,000 professionals using Neurobots treatment, which implies an impact on the lives of 4 million people per year.


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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

Goals for 1 year:

  1. Sales: Rent the product to 300 clinics in several states of Brazil.
  2. Sales: Use B2C business model with autonomous therapists
  3. Automate sales model: Build a sales structure that is replicable in any location, from prospecting leads to final sales.
  4. Implement Inbound marketing: Acting digitally to attract clinics and patients, become reference and authority in the field.
  5. Development: Develop with lower limb exoskeleton product.
  6. Manufacture: Adjust equipment for large-scale production.
  7. Grants: Apply for research together with great institutions and neuroscientist, nationally and internationally.
  8. Join in acceleration / incubation in the United States.
  9.  Get investment in the United States.
  10.  Start FDA process for regularization

Goals for 5 years:

  1. Sales: Be present in all continents, with 10000 professionals using equipment from Neurobots.
  2. Business model: Start business model for the patient as B2C.
  3. Development: Have at least 5 Neuroengineering products in the state of the art.
  4. Be the leading company in the world in Interface Brain Computer Interface for Rehabilitation.
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What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

Barrier for 1 year:

  1. Sales: Currently we are acting locally only, when expanding to other locations we will have the difficulty of acting at a distance.
  2. Sales:Therapist B2C business model needs to validate the app and expand marketing process to get patient and therapists.
  3. Automate sales model: Currently we only have organic sales and using the founders in the sale process. We want a sales system to run actively and without our presence.
  4. Implementing Inbound Marketing: Professionals still do not know the technology, so having to explain it is hard. They are in constant contact with specific neurologists, who are always more reluctant to use new technologies.
  5. Manufacture: With scale production the product can not be changed anymore.
  6. Grants: Network with international researchers is hard.
  7. Be approved in acceleration / incubation process in the United States.
  8. FDA regularization is expensive and time consuming.

Barrier for 5 years:

  1. Sales: Each country has its own regulation of health products, which makes internationalization hard.
  2. Patient Business Model: The rehab industry will not be pleased that the patient is being treated without his presence.
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How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

Barrier for 1 year:

  1. Sales: We will start operating by distance in August, a collaborator will be responsible for taking doubts and maintenance online, and in the future to automate them.
  2. Therapist Business Model: We plan to participate in events, positionate the brand as the best in stroke rehabilitation.
  3. Automate sales model: We hired a sales consulting company, in which we are setting up a sales structure with spin selling using pre-sales.
  4. Implementing Inbound Marketing: We will join some scientific events, like physiotherapy and neuroscience congress, and investing in online marketing.
  5. Manufacture: Large scale molds will only be produced after the product has been validated with 2 months of use in the clinics.
  6. Grants: We are constantly applying for international processes that facilitate networking, such as Solve MIT.
  7. Be approved in acceleration / incubation: We have a proposal from the University of Berkeley, but we choose to submit only in 2020.
  8.  We have already contacted Enzyme, a silicon valley startup that assists in regularization.

Barrier for 5 years:

  1. Sales: Every country has consultants who carry out the regularization, we need to start with the process before starting in the given country.
  2. Patient Business Model: With research proving is it efficient to rehab without any professional looking for the patient, we will be able to sell directly to the patient.
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About your team

Select an option below:

For-profit

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If you selected Other for the organization question, please explain here.

Not applicable

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How many people work on your solution team?

Now we have 8 people working full time:

  1. 2 Founders (Biomedical Engineering)
  2. 2 Computational Science (1 Phd and 1 Master)
  3. 2 Electronic Engineering (1 Master)
  4. 1 Industrial Designer
  5. 1 Administration of business (Sales)
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For how many years have you been working on your solution?

In 2014 I met the Brain Computer Interface technology and started to work with it. In 2015 I developed the first prototype, an arm controlled by brain. In 2016 I founded Neurobots. In 2017 we raised founding to develop the product and make a good team. In 2018 we made a research with the prototypes. In 2019 we start in clinics.

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Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

This team with 8 people was formed in 2018. In a short time we were able to develop a Brain Computer Interface software, 3 hand exoskeleton prototypes, developed a low cost EEG, and are collaborating with two masters and 1 phD. In short it is a very capable team with expertise in the fundamental areas in the development of Neuroengineering products. Still, everyone is engaged in the research area, with several masters and doctorates being planned or in collaboration. And most importantly, everyone is inspired by the purpose of Neurobots, which is to change the world by changing the people who need the most help.

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With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

We have partnership with innovation organizations, where we have environment to work and mentoring for technology and business development.

We also seek to partner with well-recognized institutions to strengthen our name. We are currently in a hospital, where we provide the equipment for free and they are using it to generate studies.

We also have partnerships with universities to apply for national and international grants.

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Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

As recurring payment brings greater financial security and make it easier to enter the market, we are starting with rent, which the clinics pays US$500,00 monthly to use the product, receive all new updates and innovations we develop. The first targets are the neurological rehabilitation centers, with just 300 clinics we will have an invoice of $112.500,00 monthly. We achieve this goal in 1 year, when we are going to expand internationally as well. The fabrication of the product cost US$1.500,00 and can be made in 1 day. 

The second business model is a B2C, the patient ask for Neurobots treatment via app, we ask the closest therapist registered on the software to treat the patient at his home. This business model is very promising, because of two factors: 1- We receive constantly emails from patients asking for the solution, so we can make a big data base of patients. 2- There are much more autonomous physiotherapists than clinics, and they charge a small amount per session. With our business model the patient receive the most efficient treatment comfortably at home for only US$100,00 (50% to Neurobots), so the therapist raises their patient demand, ticket and quality of the sessions, and we can expand to any city. 

The third step is to provide the product for the patients using home care business model. So the patient does not need to get out of his house, just ask for the product at the website and pays for the session.

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We have been able to evolve until now through grants and innovation programs. We have approximately 1 year of the team guaranteed.

Until december we intend to reach the breakeven.

We intend to get a 1 million dollars in investment until next year to accelerate the expansion process, reaching 300 clinics in 6 months, with an monthly invoice of US$112.500,00

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Partnership potential

Why are you applying to Solve?

As I said, we plan to go to USA in 2020. We need help from Solve in the following points:

  • A big barrier is the confidence from neurologists and professionals from a new technology, mainly when was developed in Brazil. We need to make our product be connected with a great University from USA so the rehabilitation industry trust on us. MIT is the most important Engineering in the world, so would be perfect.
  • How to know the USA market, how would be the best way to run our business.
  • Connection with Neurologists, researchers and rehabilitation clinics.
  • Connection with investors so we can acquire the 3 million dollars we need to expand.
  • Make a research to develop the lower limb exoskeleton together.
  • Apply for International Grants, as NIH.
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What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Business model
  • Technology
  • Distribution
  • Funding and revenue model
  • Monitoring and evaluation
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If you selected Other, please explain here.

Not Apllicable

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With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?

We want partnership with MIT to: Develop lower limb exoskeleton with us or to test our product and give approval by some important researcher, so have more credibility with the neurologists in USA.

We need partnership with some accelerator program so we can know how to join in USA market, how our product will fit with in your economy, regulations and all the steps to implement the product.

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If you would like to apply for the AI Innovations Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If you are not already using AI in your solution, explain why it is necessary for your solution to be successful and how you plan to incorporate it.

As we seek to start our operations in USA, we will use the prize to start the process of regulation with FDA. About 50K dollars are needed to make all the steps of regulation together with Enzyme, a startup from silicon valley that will help us with FDA process.

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If you would like to apply for the Innospark Ventures Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If your solution utilizes data, describe how you will ensure that the data is sourced, maintained, and used ethically and responsibly.

As we seek to start our operations in USA, we will use the prize to start the process of regulation with FDA. About 50K dollars are needed to make all the steps of regulation together with Enzyme, a startup from silicon valley that will help us with FDA process.

We use data from brain activation. One of the main principles of the team is to always be ethical and legal. We do not use their data after the therapy, but we are going to ask for legal recommendations so we can follow the law of each country we want to join.

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Solution Team

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