Skolkovo resident startup Motorica, which makes prostheses for both children and adults, was awarded a special prize by Russia’s Channel One on Thursday.
Konstantin Deblikov (left) tests a prototype adult hand as Motorica CEO Ilya Chekh looks on. Photo: Sk.ru.
The prize was presented as part of the Prizvanie (Vocation) awards for doctors, ahead of Medics’ Day, which Russia marks on June 17.
Motorica began by making cable-operated prosthetic hands for children. The ideology behind the prostheses is that they should be functional, rather than cosmetic, and that they should turn the children into what the company describes as “superheroes” by including extra functions, such as an MP3 player, a remote control, video recorder or other gadgets. The children can choose their own design and gadget.
Motorica’s colourful 3D-printed prostheses are available free of charge under the Russian health system, and they have already been made for hundreds of children in Russia, the U.K., the U.S., the Czech Republic, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Some of those children took part in the awards ceremony together with Motorica’s CEO, Ilya Chekh.
“We’re making sure that both children and adults in Russia have access to the most up-to-date technology in prostheses and rehabilitation,” Chekh said upon receiving the award.
The company is currently working on it first bionic prostheses for children, and plans to complete work on them later this year. Unlike cable-operated hands, which are operated by the wearer by moving the wrist joint in different ways, bionic prostheses respond to electrical impulses sent from the brain to the wearer’s remaining muscle tissue.
Motorica has also developed a bionic arm for adults, known as the Stradivari, as well as their own system of rehabilitation that uses virtual reality to turn the process into entertainment, noted Vladimir Egorov, a senior project manager within Skolkovo’s biomed cluster.
“It [rehabilitation] is very important for the patient, and gives them the chance to make full use of the prosthesis’s potential,” he noted.
In Motorica’s rehab system, named Attilan, patients find themselves on board an international space system orbiting Mars. Their task is to prepare to colonise the Red Planet by performing a variety of tasks that help them use their prosthetic hand dexterously.
The Vocation prize was not the first the Skolkovo company has won. In 2016 it was awarded both a Hope in Technology prize by Russia’s Trade and Industry Ministry, and the Made in Russia prize for science and technology.
Motorica also won the third prize of 15 million rubles ($238,000) on the reality TV show “An Idea Worth a Million,” which was broadcast on Russia’s NTV channel late last year.
Two years ago, Motorica organised Russia’s first Cybathlon, a tournament for users of prosthetic hands and arms. The company is also one of the founding members of the Russian Cybathlon Federation.