Acquired brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide. Its complex nature with dramatically varied and individual effects make recovery a long, difficult process that can be emotionally draining for both patients and the patient’s family. Weeks and months may elapse before the patient is anywhere near their former self and it may take several years in order to reach the best possible recovery.
The Lausanne, Switzerland-based startup MindMaze has developed a platform designed to help patients with brain injuries recover by retraining their brain with the help of virtual reality, computer graphics and brain imaging. For example, a patient with a paralyzed left hand sits before a computer screen, moving his right hand. The MindMaze software show the motion being executed by the paralyzed left hand. In doing so, the software “tricks” a patient’s brain into re-activating damaged neuron, or activating new neurons to take over for the damaged ones.
The engaging and motivational platform is based on recognized neurorehabilitation principles, and support individual recovery goals and personalized exercise regimens set by the clinician. The exercises make patients forget they are undergoing rehab, motivates them to train longer, accelerating recovery times. The system also help clinicians analyze and monitor the performance and recovery progress, giving them an opportunity to personalize the program for optimal outcomes.
The MindMaze system, called MindMotionPRO, is certified for clinical use in Europe and Asia. So far, they have sold or received pre-orders from hospitals for nine of their virtual reality systems, but hope to bring that number to 20 by the end of the year. The device and software is available to buy for $80,000, but the company is looking at other options, including leasing and subscription models, to make it easier for hospitals to acquire.
The platform is not only a cost-effective technological solution that make rehabilitation more efficient. It is an engaging, personalized program that put the patient in focus, while at the same time making the recovery process shorter and less difficult. Most importantly, the technology has the opportunity to significantly improve quality of life for millions of people who suffer brain injury, and their vision could transform healthcare.
The company earlier this year announced that they have raised $100 million, led by the Hinduja Group, bringing the company's valuation to more than $1 billion. The money will go toward expanding the presence of MindMotionPRO to the US. They also look to expand their research into other symptoms and conditions, including memory loss and tremors in Parkinson's, and also plan to release a portable version of the system that patients can take home.