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3rd prize for Axiles Bionics project

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At the annual European Robotics Forum in Malaga, BruBotics and Axiles Bionics jointly won the 3rd prize of the 2020 euRobotics Technology Transfer Award. The aim of the “euRobotics Technology Transfer Award” is to showcase the impact of robotics research and to raise the profile of technology transfer between science and industry.

From AMP-Foot to Axiles Bionics

Each year, 75.000 people undergo a major lower limb amputation in the EU. The clear majority of these new amputees quickly discover that current prosthetic feet are unable to restore their full freedom of movement.

As a result, amputees suffer both physically and psychologically. Reality is that today’s prosthetic feet are still similar to the way they were 50 years ago and fail at restoring a normal gait and posture. As an example, literature shows that up to 90% of amputees suffer from severe chronical back pain, which significantly affects their daily life activities.

Despite the clear market demand for better ankle-foot prostheses, the challenge of replicating a human ankle-foot remained too significant. Our advances in robotics and AI can finally bring about a change. The robotics research at BruBotics led to the development of new bionic ankle-foot prostheses, that unlike any other device on the market today, can bring back a natural gait and posture during daily activities; being flexible and highly responsive to the person’s intention and to the environment; and adapting and assisting during efforts by compensating for the lost leg muscles.

This Ankle Mimicking Prosthetic (AMP-) Foot research project started 12 years ago at BruBotics, the Human Centered Robotic Research Centre of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), and finally resulted in the spin-off company Axiles Bionics who will bring the results to the market. The transition from research to spin-off took over 3 years, during which the market was validated, a proof of concept was tested by amputees, the team was brought together and the necessary funding found.

Today, Axiles Bionics aims at developing an innovative bionic foot for amputees, based on VUB technology. Robotic ankle-foot prostheses (and assistive robotics in general) are very new and currently only available in academic research. In Europe, Axiles Bionics is the only spin-off carrying this know-how at this day

BruBotics and Axiles Bionics are today rewarded for their joint efforts to work towards this succesful case of technology transfer from research to business.

 

BruBotics is a joint effort by 8 research groups of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel collaborating on Human Centered Robotics to improve the quality of life of people. By combining over 100 scientists working on topics as diverse as aging studies, robotic mechanics, marketing, social studies, human physiology, artificial intelligence, neurological revalidation, eHealth and engineering, BruBotics is quickly growing to become one of the leading European robotics research centers.

Since its inception in 2015, BruBotics aims at accelerating the valorization of the robotics research performed at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. For this, two dedicated business developers are assisting the research groups involved in BruBotics on all matters related to technology transfer.

Axiles Bionics is a newly set-up spin-off from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, founded by dr.ir. Pierre Cherelle, aiming at improving the quality of life of people with assistive robotics. The company has the ambition to become an European player in bionic prosthetics.The first focus today is with amputees by bringing a new generation bionic foot to the market, based on the AMP-Foot research. 

Axiles Bionics recently raised 2,4 mio EUR from private investors to roll-out its ambition.

euRobotics is the association for all stakeholders in European robotics.

The AMP-Foot prostheses
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