The idea to create a device such as MOTIMOVE, meant for movement assistance to persons with disabilities, is not new, but the technology has now reached the level where we can procure the parts relatively easily and use them to create a multi-function system, which is at the same time simpler to use. We expect the product to be profitable, but the team was guided by the desire to create something useful.
This is how Lana Popovic Maneski, General Manager of the young Belgrade-based company 3F-Fit Fabricando Faber, explains the idea to develop a device that might make a considerable contribution to a quicker and simpler rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, together with a team of engineers.
The company developed the said device based on the implementation of functional electrical stimulation, and the new system follows the expertise and the long term experience of a team of experts from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Belgrade, already recognized in the world in the domain of development and implementation of electronic stimulators and wearable systems for persons with disabilities.
– Functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been used as therapy for decades, and our main consultant, academy member Dejan Popovic, has been active in the field for around forty years. Similar systems have been developed before, but are not complex enough to support all the functions that patients truly need – eKapija's interviewee points out.
The problem, she explains, has been how to find a compromise between the benefits of the system for the patient and the complicated use of the system. The main innovation of 3F-Fit Fabricando Faber is in increased power and new stimulator functions, all “packaged” in a smaller format, as well as its modular structure and the option to connect to external sensors placed on various body parts.
– An example of this is the option to measure the force distribution beneath the foot while the patient is walking or the sensor of the inclination of the pedal when a paralyzed person wants to ride a home bicycle. Also, the user interface is now simpler and doesn't require previous knowledge – our interviewee says.
MOTIMOVE is meant to provide movement assistance to persons suffering from multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, or recovering after a stroke or a spinal cord injury, and the importance of the device has been recognized by the expert jury of the Aurea investment of the year award, organized by our portal, which awarded 3F-Fit Fabricando Faber with a special prize for innovation
.Long certification procedure
The initial idea was for MOTIMOVE to enter the market as a finished product by the end of the year, but it will probably be made available in early 2019. Also, as Popovic Maneski says, they are completing an industrial prototype, which is to be followed by the certification of the device, that is, the obtaining of the CE tag, so that the product could be made available in the European market.
– People are already asking us when the device is going to be finished so that they can try it, but we have had to slow down a bit, since we now have to fully certify the medical device as well, including all the accompanying permits. This requires more money and more time – at least six months from the beginning of the process, because the company itself also has to obtain certain certificates before the product does – our interviewee points out.
Also, there's a small problem regarding the procurement of components, because, as she adds, in order for a device to be certified, all the individual components need to be certified as well.