17 JUNE 2020
RehabSwift Pty Ltd is developing a customised brain-computer interface that fast-tracks hand movement recovery after stroke, a leading cause of long-term disability worldwide.
Leveraging the brain’s neuroplasticity, RehabSwift rewires damaged neural pathways between the brain and muscles. The technology records the electrical activity of the patient’s brain through their scalp, detects their intention to move using a novel machine learning algorithm, then transforms this captured intention into the actual movement via robotic hands.
Founder and Managing Director, Dr Sam Darvishi is driven to ease the burden of disability for others through RehabSwift.
“I stuttered severely through my childhood and teenage years,” says Sam. “As someone who has lived with disability, I know how hard it is. I’ve always intended to use my knowledge and expertise to ease the burden of disability.”
Sam is well on his way to achieving this. In a proof of principle study, RehabSwift improved the hand motor function of a stroke survivor, who had a stroke 3.5 years prior to the study, by 36% after ten 30-minute therapy sessions.
Sam joined The Accelerator in 2018 for education and mentorship in developing a realistic and executable commercialisation strategy for RehabSwift.
Delivered by the MedTech Actuator, the 15-month, industry-led, venture-backed program aggressively funds and accelerates medical, health and biological technology startups. The MedTech Actuator works alongside venture capital partner Artesian to support startups on their journey.
“Thanks to The Accelerator’s wealth of knowledge and expertise, we were able to successfully achieve all program milestones,” says Sam.
“This included setting up our clinical strategy, product development strategy, regulatory and reimbursement strategy, marketing strategy, IP strategy, financial planning and go-to-market strategy,” says Sam.
Sam acknowledges that MedTech startups are different than startups in other domains, as they need to survive with no revenue for at least few years until they reach the market.
“Being MedTech-focused, The Accelerator gave us education and mentorship tailor-made for medical devices. General advice would not be particularly useful for MedTech startups,” says Sam.
RehabSwift recently received an Accelerating Commercialisation Grant of $144,590. This new support will enable Sam to take the next steps to make this innovative solution available to stroke survivors.
“My advice for those on similar pathways is to find your why,” says Sam.
“Knowing why you do what you do can make it much easier to bear inevitable hardship. Otherwise the setbacks may be too tough to withstand.”
To learn more about RehabSwift and follow their journey, go to www.rehabswift.com.
Do you have a MedTech, HealthTech or BioTech prototype to improve or save lives? Find out more about The Accelerator.