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The MyoSuit – mobility assistance for everyday life

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MyoSuit (The MyoSuit – mobility assistance for everyday life)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2019-11-30

Mobility impairments can affect a person’s quality of life by making simple everyday tasks difficult or impossible to perform. These impairments may be the result of genetic disorders, a neurological injury, or simply ageing. Since many of these conditions cannot be cured with the current state of medical care available, the best option to regain—or maintain—mobility is to use assistive technologies.

While it is key for everyone, including patients with mobility impairments, to be physically active every week, very few advances have been made in technology for mobility limitations and most people must rely on solutions like wheelchairs and walkers. While these solutions can address the lack of mobility, they do not promote the physical activity needed for optimal functioning.

In Europe, 9.7% of the population of working age (15-64 years old) report difficulties with walking, sitting, standing, or lifting and carrying objects. For those over 65 years old—a segment of the population with a spending capacity of over €3,000 billion—age-related impairments are expected to grow from 68 million in 2005 to 84 million in 2020. Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) point to 25% of the world population being over 60 years old by 2050. This increase in the population’s age will lead to a higher incidence of age-related mobility problems. Technological solutions that address these issues will play a major role in current and future healthcare systems.

We seek to address the problem of mobility by developing solutions that enhance the functional capacity of people with mobility impairments—including those with incurable conditions.

Our objectives are to develop a business model that ensures our technology is available for patients and those involved in their care. The development of our technology therefore focuses on affordability, accessibility, and ease of use.
"The main work carried out over the project has been establishing the key markets where the Myosuit can support patients' training.

Over the past 8 months, prior to entering the market as a medical device, we have evaluated several business models with potential customers. In this process we have identified the key shortcomings of comparable technology. Today, robotic technology for movement training is mostly limited to specialized rehabilitation centers with large investment budgets, large spaces where to host the technology, and specialized personnel. These solutions range in price from €80k to €400k. Patients thus have limited access to this technology which can limit their ability to engage in regular physical activity.

One key outcome of the work performed has been the segmentation of our target market into three key segments: inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation, and self-directed rehabilitation. These 3 market segments are characterized by different willingness to invest in technology, different resources available to adapt new technology, and different expectations for the use of innovative technology.

Inpatient rehabilitation centers refer to larger clinics where patients typically spend a few weeks at a time. These larger centers are the best equipped to invest in new technology, integrate it into clinical practice, and are also typically the most up-to-date in the use of new technology. Outpatient centers represent a market size that is around 100 times larger than inpatient centers. However, the investment capability of this market segment is much smaller and they are typically less likely to invest the time and effort needed to integrate new technology into their daily practice. Finally, the self-directed rehabilitation market (e.g. home market) has the lowest willingness to invest and also places very high expectation on the capacity for technology to ""solve"" their problems related to mobility.

Following this segmentation of the market, we have adapted our approach to each market to meet their key needs for movement training. One exciting outcome during this time has been the ability to successfully sign contract with customers in each market segment. This is particularly the case for inpatient and outpatient centers. We are only indirectly addressing the self-directed market as having a version of the technology that can be used in daily life requires a significant investment of resources for development.

An additional development has been on digital products that support training with the Myosuit. The Myosuit is supported by two additional technologies: 1) Myosense–a cloud platform that aggregates and analyzes the movement data tracked while patients train with the Myosuit, and 2) Myotraining—and intelligence engine that designs personalized training plans for patients based on their goals and needs for training. This combination makes up the MyoSwiss platform."
We have orders from 10 customers for a total of 14 Myosuits. These customers include larger rehabili-tation centers, mid-size training centers, and small-er physiotherapy studios. This is very positive as it shows that with our proposed business model, we can reach beyond the larger rehabilitation centers and make robotic training available to the mass market.
These first Myosuits, together with Myosense and Myotraining will be delivered to customers starting in the first quarter of 2020.

We have now tested the Myosuit on many patients with different conditions that have lead to muscle weakness. This includes patients with neurological injuries (e.g. stroke, spinal cord injury), neurological conditions (e.g. multiple sclerosis, muscle dystrophies), and age-related muscle impairments (e.g. sarcopenia). This gives us great hope to address the need for people with mobility impairments to remain mobile and physically active despite their impairment.

We envision a future where technology for mobility assistance is simple, intuitive and—borrowing from the WHO’s approach to ageing and health—allows people to do the things they value for as long as possible.
New offering
Unmet medical need and market segmentation