Neurofenix is one of our 10 Inventor Prize finalists, with their product the NeuroBall. Here, CEO and Co-founder Guillem Singla Buxarrais tells us why the product is so important and about his experience of the Inventor Prize so far
The NeuroBall (formerly Gameball Platform) is a hand training device connected to a tablet application that makes stroke rehabilitation affordable and fun. It’s very easy to use and motivates stroke survivors to do exercises at home through games.
My co-founder Dimitris and I have relatives who have suffered strokes. We experienced the impact that stroke has in the life of a survivor and their family. In an instant and without notice, you can have a stroke and your life changes forever. It’s devastating.
Two years ago, we started volunteering at Different Strokes – a charity proving support to stroke survivors – and began to fully understand the key challenges stroke survivors face in everyday life. Driven by our passion to improve the life of stroke survivors and our frustration with the lack of support they receive after they leave the hospital, we founded Neurofenix.
We have co-created the NeuroBall with survivors, their families and physiotherapists from initial conception.
There are over 1 million stroke survivors in the UK and 100,000 Brits have a stroke every year. 77 per cent of people lose control of their hand and arm after a stroke and most feel completely abandoned at home (Stroke Association, 2016). The NeuroBall will transform rehabilitation from a lonely, expensive experience to a fun and social journey to recovery. We invite stroke survivors and therapists to contact us through our website.
A friend of mine who suffered a stroke read about the Inventor Prize in the news and suggested I apply. The NeuroBall and our mission to improve the life of millions of stroke survivors fit perfectly to what Nesta is looking for. I was excited to be selected as a finalist, together with nine brilliant and inspiring entrepreneurs. The Inventor Prize will help us get our product to market. Stroke costs the UK £9bn a year (Stroke Association, 2017) and with the number of Brits suffering a stroke expected to increase by 44 per cent by 2035, there is an urgent need for more effective stroke rehabilitation devices that can be used specifically in the home.
We are hopeful that our journey with Nesta will help us reach key stakeholders in the NHS and the private sector and spread the word about the NeuroBall. The Nesta and Barclays Eagle Lab team are supporting us in the development of our product, providing us with training opportunities and a mentor who guides us through the challenges of growing an idea to a high-growth business with a measurable social impact.
This year is key for the development of our product. We have been working with 60 stroke survivors and 18 therapists to develop the NeuroBall for two years.
During the prize, we seek to finalise the development of the software platform and device, evaluating the solution in a clinical trial led by Brunel University London and funded by Innovate UK. By the end of the price, we will have a market-ready product and we will be close to launching the NeuroBall to the UK market. Our long-term goal is to provide affordable and engaging rehabilitation to every person who suffers a stroke, worldwide.
With the NeuroBall, training will become part of the survivors’ daily routine. Stroke survivors will be able to share their scores and progress with their loves ones and train with other survivors via the internet, adding a social component to their rehabilitation journey and, by doing so, promote engagement and repetitions - all via the platform - a first for this market.
Thanks to the support from Nesta, Barclays and the BEIS, we are one step closer to achieving this mission. Finally, we believe our technology will have applications beyond stroke. There are other conditions that demand physical and cognitive rehabilitation such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, hand injury and osteoarthrosis that could benefit from the NeuroBall.
Guillem Singla Buxarrais, CEO and Co-founder, Neurofenix
This feature was published on 31 May 2018.