Gesture Therapy is successfully presented in the last stage of the LIF innovation program in the United Kingdom
Santa María Tonantzintla, Puebla, July 18, 2022. Doing research that has an impact on society is the mission that some of the projects developed in the academy must have. This was stated by Dr. Luis Enrique Sucar Succar, a researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), after participating with the Gesture Therapy system in the Leaders in Innovation Fellowships (LIF) program of the Royal Academy of Engineering (Royal Academy of Engineering) of Great Britain.
The LIF program recognizes emerging engineering leaders whose innovations have the potential to contribute to the economic and social development of their respective countries through commercialization, and impact one of the 17 UN sustainable development priorities. This year, 70 entrepreneurs from different countries participated in the program that included consulting and mentoring, access to an international network of peers, access to resources, webinars and contacts.
Gesture Therapy, a project led by Dr. Sucar Succar, National Science Award, has involved 15 years of research, technological development, clinical trials, intellectual property protection and the creation of a company.
In 2021, the INAOE granted the license to the company Aldawa Technologies, a spin-off of the INAOE founded by Dr. Sucar and his partner, Dr. Roberto Valdivia, for the system handle. It is a rehabilitation system for patients who have suffered from cerebral vascular disease or other conditions that affect the movement of the upper limbs. It has been developed by INAOE researchers in collaboration with scientists from the University of California and the “Manuel Velasco Suárez” National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery (INNN). It consists of a handle that facilitates the patient's interaction with the system, a series of serious games specially designed for rehabilitation, as well as the ability to automatically adapt to the patient's progress.
In an interview, Dr. Sucar explained that LIF seeks to put technology into practice: “you see all the aspects that involve putting a technology into practice, for example, how to carry out experiments to validate the technology with potential users, financial analysis, the business plan, etc. The program lasted five months with many instruction sessions and the closing of the program was two weeks in the United Kingdom where there were courses, training and internships. They introduced us to the innovation ecosystem there, in Durham, Cambridge and London. The program ended with a kind of contest to present our innovations to experts divided by area and there was feedback. We made many contacts and learned many aspects of how to put an innovation into practice”.
Asked about the status of the project, he informed: “what we want to do now is to commercialize the system, which would also bring royalties to the INAOE, it is a win-win relationship. The technology is almost ready, we are struggling to get investment. At LIF they also guided us in this sense, many possibilities arose and this is what we are now exploring, they taught us how to sell the project to investors, how to present it better, the program helped us a lot to improve our proposal”.
Dr. Sucar expressed that there is a great difference between the ecosystem in the United Kingdom and in Mexico, especially in Cambridge: “it is a unique model because they have an environment that begins at the University of Cambridge with all the research part and they have entities related to the University, although somewhat independent, that help take this research to the next level, to turn it into products, to see all the intellectual property part, even to obtain seed capital and support students and researchers to conduct their research to the practice. They have generated many start-ups and on the other hand there are also large companies around all of this. This environment is incredible, they say that their mission is to do research to have an impact on society and that is by generating technology and companies that have an economic impact; these entities can be generated in Mexico that will help to go further”.
Finally, he invited the researchers to participate in this call, "you don't need a company to do it, the important thing is that you have a project with commercial potential and impact". All the information about the LIF program can be found on the following page: https://raeng.org.uk/programmes-and-prizes/programmes/international-programmes/leaders-in-innovation-fellowships
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