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Manual Assistant (hand for upper limb disability) – a new approach designed to restore user's manual capabilities.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Tolka Pro (Manual Assistant (hand for upper limb disability) – a new approach designed to restore user's manual capabilities.)

Reporting period: 2019-11-01 to 2020-04-30

The risk of limb loss increases with age. For upper-limb amputations, trauma is the leading cause, accounting for 80% of acquired amputations, occurring in men aged 15 to 45 years. Second most prevalent is cancer/tumours and vascular complications of diseases. Based on statistics obtained, we assume that there are approximately 2.8 million people in the world who are potential users of a prosthetic device for the lower part of the arm. Existing solutions provide open/close finger approach, while TOLKA PRO delivers new perspectives in terms of dexterity. TOLKA PRO is not limited to only a few grasps, but rather almost infinite configuration of static gestures (open/close) and dynamic (wave all fingers) moves. To achieve this, a hybrid control system will be used – combining classic - myoelectric approach with voice control. Voice commands have been chosen due to rapidly improving voice recognition algorithms and also an almost infinite number of commands possible. Voice control systems are also becoming more and more popular and using them is no longer seen as unusual. Over the last year, a new and essential factor has been defined, which is the possibility to deliver TOLKA PRO and custom fit prosthetic socket remotely, without the need for the client to visit prosthetic clinic. A prosthesis enables a person with a disability or functional impairment to remain active, productive and independent, participate in society, and lead a healthy and dignified life. A good quality prosthesis, when appropriate to the person and their environment, has a significant impact on the level of a person’s independence and reduces the need for formal support services. Upper extremity amputations are devastating and will profoundly impact the life of the affected patient. Demographic ageing is likely to be of significant significance in the coming decades, especially in Europe. Consistently low birth rates and higher life expectancy are transforming the shape of the age pyramid; probably the most critical change will be the marked transition towards a much older population structure, a development which is already apparent in several European countries.The overall objectives include in-depth technical assessment focused on TOLKA PRO and its remote delivery process, including a detailed work plan, extended Market Study with in-depth competition analysis, IPR protection Strategy, partner Search; business plan.
(1) We have chosen materials to obtain the most durable construction for TOLKA PRO; We have decided on the funnel, planned actions for power consumption reduction of electronic circuits based on the FPGA system; We have agreed on the improvement of mechanical parts of the hand-drives; we have confirmed the planned algorithm of actions required to provide TOLKA PRO and a prosthetic socket remotely);
(2) We decided on force feedback in the planned version; We have planned activities plan for the development of the online platform and Android and iOS apps.
(3) We have performed market research, including benchmarking of competitive products/services identifying products pricing and verify the market defined markets.
(3) We have verified the existing IPR strategy and assets, including FTO and performing 5-year IPR strategy in cooperation with a patent attorney. We have Investigated and analysed legal conditions (mostly regulatory) in the selected target markets and prepared the IP protection strategy.
(4) We have taken actions to update relations with our existing and potential partners to address vBionic value chain, and partners requested for demonstration activities in possible phase 2 (EIC Accelerator).
(5) We have updated our business plan.
We extend the SOA as we allow for controlling the artificial hand by nerve signals from muscles or any input devices controlled by API (Application Programming Interface). However, the voice-control enables users for an almost infinite number of commands and pre-set configurations (grasp) not available in competing solutions. The more available grasps users have, the more convenience while performing day by day activities and higher self-confidence. TOLKA PRO is a robotic hand designed (11 degrees of freedom) to mimic the human hand better than Existing solutions that provide open/close finger approach.
As defined in the SAM sizing, the existent market on a yearly basis counts 24.5k people who are seeking a solution. The resulting SOM in a 5-year span is ~ EUR 27.6M.
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