BresoTec, formerly known as ApneaDx, also among top five finalists
TORONTO, August 11, 2015 – Legworks‘ next-generation prosthetic knee took first place in Ontario Centres of Excellence’s (OCE’s) Parapan Am Games-affiliated Accessibility Tech Pitch competition. The company immediately said it would use the $20,000 award to fit 200 amputees in developing countries with its device.
Legworks was selected from 18 participants in a two-day elimination pitch competition – one of the features of the Government of Ontario’s Accessibility Innovation Showcase held at MaRS Discovery District from August 8 to 10, 2015.
Legworks was one of five companies to make it to the final round of the competition.
Other finalists were Eightfold Technologies, MyndTec, BresoTec Inc., and Komodo OpenLabs. BresoTec Inc., formerly known as ApneaDx Inc., is a MaRS Innovation start-up company spun-off in partnership with the University Health Network’s Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and is developing a medical device to allow patients to determine whether they have sleep apnea without having to visit a sleep clinic.
TORONTO (May 27, 2015) – LegWorks Inc., backed with a $2 million blend of private and Government of Canada investments catalyzed by Grand Challenges Canada, is a new Toronto-based company that will contribute to a better life for amputees in developing countries.
The LegWorks AT-knee was covered in the Toronto Star on June 1, 2015 in “Great advances being made in assistive technology” by Kate Allen and in Healio Orthotics & Prosthetics News on June 2.
The LegWorks “All-Terrain Knee” (AT-Knee) is a safe, high-functioning, durable, affordable prosthetic knee joint developed at Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. It enables lower-limb amputees to walk more efficiently, safely and comfortably. Its patented design provides incredible stability, is easy to fit and maintain, and can even be used in harsh environments, including water.
“With the AT-Knee and LegWorks, it is our goal to begin to provide more universal access to better prosthetic care for individuals living with amputations around the world,” said Jan Andrysek, scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. “We want to make high-quality and well-functioning prosthetic devices affordable and accessible for the many individuals whose needs are currently left unmet.”
In trials, early users in 10 countries reported a 95 per cent preference for the relatively low-cost AT-Knee to more expensive existing technologies. Developed with a $100,000 Grand Challenges Canada seed grant awarded in 2012 to the Bloorview Research Institute, the AT-Knee easily outperformed existing technologies under rigorous conditions in El Salvador, Chile and Myanmar.
With the new funding, LegWorks will mass produce its innovative, affordable prosthetic knee, the All-Terrain Knee (AT-Knee), the functionality and durability of which makes it ideal for amputees living in the developing world. The $2 million investment deal includes a loan via Grand Challenges Canada of up to $1 million (of which $405,000 has been dispersed), matched by MaRS Innovation, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Ontario Centres of Excellence and a group of private angel investors. With the $1 million expected from private investors and foundations matched by federal funds, the project will receive an anticipated $2 million to scale-up the success of the company.
In the first five years, LegWorks expects 37,000 units to be sold via distributors, NGOs, prosthetic clinics and government rehab facilities, in both high-income countries and the developing world.
MaRS Innovation, which was created to help researchers solve exactly this problem, has a project with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital that was featured in Leung’s article. Asim Siddiqi founded the anxiety meter app for children with autism.
Siddiqi recently competed in the Ontario Brain Institute’s OBI Entrepreneurs Program, funded in part by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.
Here’s an excerpt:
As much as 80 per cent of children with autism suffer from anxiety, but they often have trouble recognizing and communicating their anxiety states, Siddiqi explains. “Just like we sometimes have difficulty ourselves recognizing when we’re kind of stress-eating and things like that, they have it a little worse than we do.”
Using sensors on the body, Dymaxia’s anxiety meter picks up physiological signals, such as heart rate and skin conductance – or the amount of electric current that passes through sensors on the skin, which increases with stress and body temperature. It then processes those signals and provides feedback of the child’s anxiety state in real time on a mobile phone or tablet.