ReWalk May Replace Wheelchairs

taga.gifArgo Medical Technologies, a Technion incubator company founded in 2006, has designed an innovative alternative to wheelchairs that may restore walking ability. According to the company’s press release, the reWalk exoskeleton is a “light, wearable brace support suit featuring DC motors at the joints, rechargeable batteries, an array of sensors, and a computer-based control system. Users wear a backpack device and braces on their legs, and select the activity they want from a remote control. A sensor on the chest determines the torso’s angle and guides the legs to move forward or backward to maintain balance.”

Currently undergoing clinical trials using a prototype developed by Israeli design firm Taga using Solidwork’s 3D CAD software, the device is expected to be generally available around 2009.

Taga design engineer Assaf Barel says there are “a lot of challenges to design something that imitates a human walking, including universal fit for a broad range of user height and weight measurements, as well as a low profile that is both contemporary and user friendly”…”SolidWorks enabled us to be creative in addressing all of these challenges. The finished product is strong, compact, lightweight, and works like a human body.”

Rainer Gawlick, SolidWorks’ VP: “The ReWalk is truly a product that will have a significant impact on people’s lives”…”Making ambulatory mobility a reality for those with lower limb disabilities is a huge medical advance, and one that we at SolidWorks are proud to be a part of.”

For more check out the full press release. And see a video of the reWalk in action here.


Students Invent Early-Detection Medical Device

technion.jpgUndergraduate students from the Technion Institute of Technology have invented a novel, non-invasive device “to detect respiratory problems at an early stage in premature babies, children and adults in intensive care units (ICU)”, according to the Jerusalem Post. The students created the device as part of an undergraduate project suggested by Professor Amir Landesberg and Dr. Dan Waisman of the Technion who founded Pneumedicare, the start-up making the device, just five months ago.

The device is currently in clinical trials in Israel and is due to start selling in mid-2009. Dr. Carmit Levy, the CEO of Pneumedicare explains how it works: “We place sensors on the sides of the chest and the upper part of the stomach of a premature baby who is attached to a respirator. By doing so, we can monitor lack of symmetry between the two lungs and the development of mechanical disturbances in lung ventilation.”

Pneumedicare claims that unlike conventional devices which sometimes allow hours to pass before detecting problems, their device can immediately “detect deterioration in lung ventilation and partial blockage of air passages, ventilation from only one lung and other common problems” and also “less-common but still life-threatening complications such as the accumulation of air between the lungs and chest cavity walls.” “Early detection of such problems reduces the risks of complications, damage to vital organs and irreversible brain damage.”

With 245,000 American babies put on respirators every year, over $35 billion in annual costs for ICU care, potentially huge savings for hospitals from a reduction in prolonged hopital stays and the prevention of life-long respiratory disabilities by early detection, Pneumedicare faces a giant market opportunity.

For more check out the full story in the Jerusalem Post.

Technion’s 2008 BizTEC Competition

biztec-image.jpgThe Technion’s 2008 BizTEC competition is well under way. The annual event, which is held in partnership with The Marker, draws teams from all of Israel’s major universities and rewards big prizes based on best business plan submissions for the hottest and most lucrative startup ideas.

Ten $1000 “teaser” awards were doled out last month for the coolest ideas and teams are now putting finishing touches on their executive summaries for submission to the semi-finals. Up to 25 out of 150 teams will be selected on March 16 to compete in the finals by a panel of judges that includes some prominent figures from the Israeli business community.

Each of these teams will then receive a mentor and additional support services to help them put together an entire business plan in time for the finals. They will also each give a short presentation to the judges in hopes of winning one of the three top prizes and up to 50,000NIS. The winners will be announced on June 12.

Ideas range from novel baby monitoring devices to new arthritis treatments. Since the Grand Kickoff on December 16 a number of networking events and workshops have been held for students which included, among other things, Guy Rolnik, founder of The Marker talking about entrepreneurship in the media, and Orna Berry, Gemini Partner and former Israeli Chief Scientist discussing recent trends in the VC community.

Winners will represent Israel in Europe’s larger entrepreneurship competition. Last year’s third place winner, NRG Fuels from Ben Gurion University, won the top prize in that competition and continued on to the international competition at UC Berkeley where they took second place.

For more info check out the BizTEC Website




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