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Start-up marries neuroscience with robotics

Posted: 01 Feb 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:neuroscience  MindMaze  virtual reality  chip  robotics 

The search for a solution to repair the central nervous system is coming to close, thanks to an India-born neuroscientist.

Tej Tadi believes he has found a way to help patients with diseases, trauma and disorders of the nervous system using MindMaze, a chip that marries neuroscience with computer graphics and robotics.

In an interview with the Economic Times, Tadi explained that "the chip computes the world like your brain does more intuitively. You think of something and that would happen through the software."

What started out as a doctoral research about a decade back at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology gave birth to MindMaze, a healthcare start-up based in Switzerland. And less than three years later, the MindMaze team "has developed and launched medical grade virtual reality products to stimulate neural recovery," according to the company's website.

Recently, the Swiss company introduced an immersive virtual reality (IVR) neuro-rehabilitation solution designed for hospitals to help patients suffering from brain stroke and spinal cord injuries recover faster.

MindMaze's IVR solution works by providing a "highly stimulating environment," which can be tailored according to the patient's needs and preferences, according to the company. It also has real-time multi-sensory feedback that enhances patient's awareness of their performance.

"The invention tricks the brain into believing different things, thereby accelerating recovery," Tadi told the news outlet.

Breaking into the unicorn club

MindMaze is already valued at $100 million, thanks to its 2012 funding that saw the company raise $10 million from Swiss and European Union grants, foundations and angel investors. Now, MindMaze has broken into the proverbial unicorn club—start-ups worth $1 billion or more—courtesy of Hinduja Group.

The Economic Times reported that two weeks ago, the Swiss company sold "less than a third" of its stake to the Hinduja Group, which has been "looking to invest in new frontier technologies as part of its global growth and expansion plan."

According to Pharmabiz.com, MindMaze is already planning to make its debut in India, specifically at the P.D. Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. Tadi told the medical news outlet that virtual reality-based solutions can be a big help not only for patients, but also for the caregivers.

"Though earlier a majority of the patients have been in their 60s and older, we now see patients as young as 16 suffer brain stroke and need to get back to active life quickly. Current solutions have failed to optimise recovery. IVR can prove beneficial for such patients as it ensures faster recovery. Patients can use this along with their manual therapy and medication," Tadi said, according to the report.





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