A Vasai-based start-up, supported by the Indian Institutes of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) and Patna, offering a line of affordable prosthetics, is one of the 15 start-ups chosen under the StartupToScaleup scheme supported by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY), Government of India (GOI). Through the programme, young healthcare and edtech start-ups get a chance to elevate their innovation to the international markets.
Grippy—Robo Bionics’ product—is a line of inexpensive prosthetics that are easy to use and also addresses some of the difficulties that amputees face with body-powered as well as externally powered prosthetics.
Llewellyn Dsa, co-founder of Robo Bionics, started developing the technology after he completed her M Tech on a Robotic Prosthetic Hand at IIT Patna. Inspired by a batchmate, who had no hands owing to a birth defect, he started the firm in 2016.
“When my team and I started looking at the market for myoelectric (prosthetics that use electronic sensors to detect muscle and nerve activity) hands, we found that while they are available in the market, they have a lot of drawbacks. They are heavy, have a steep learning curve and function in a very robotic way. To solve this we, at Robo Bionics, researched the market, customer pain points and technology to bring out Grippy,” said Dsa.
Grippy, while being affordable, offers features such as a sense of touch, grip control and adaptive shape control which is unique for every user. While a basic prosthetic of grippy is priced at ₹60,000, an advanced one can cost up to ₹75,000. A professional approved by the Rehabilitation Council of India makes the socket that connects the part between Grippy and the user’s hand. The cost for the socket could range from ₹25,000 to ₹50,000 depending on the complexity.
Incubated at IIT-Patna, the startup is supported by the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT-B, as well as the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Government of India.
“Our device is undergoing rigorous safety testing in a lab accredited to the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories in Pune. After that we will bring our Grippy, a high-quality prosthetic hand, made in India, to a limited set of users, as a pilot study under the supervision of clinicians and professionals,” said Dsa. The product, which is awaiting two patents, is expected to be launched in the market by April 2021.