1. - Konstantin, please, tell us about your company and about your innovative project.
- The innovation company I-Brain (iBrain, Ltd.) is engaged in development of hardware-software systems for neurorehabilitation. This technology is aimed at the rehabilitation of people with motor disabilities and is based on unique brain-computer interface (BCI) for broad clinical and daily application. BCI decodes brain signals analyzing electroencephalographic data in order to operate communication and transportation vehicles and recover impaired motor functions. The staff of the company unites experts in artificial intelligence, neurophysiology, medicine and psychology with years of experience in research and development. Neurorehabilitation development project is supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, by the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises (FASIE) of Russia, by the branch association “NEURONET” and by government and private specialized clinics and rehabilitation centers. Currently developing product can be considered as “Solutions for Rehabilitation and Regenerative Medicine” segment (which is included in priority directions of the roadmap of the National technological initiative of the Russian Federation. The main customers for these products are private and public medical institutions, and individual patients in need of personalized rehabilitation at home.
2. - What motivated you to pursue science?
- Scientific research is a way of pioneers for whom creating new ideas, methods and technologies is a part of everyday routine. However, I’m engaged in science only in the part necessary for an innovative entrepreneur in true meaning of this word, for the businessman who develops and introduces original, new and advanced technologies in the form of a particular product. On the basis of my Ph.D. thesis research the group of researchers and developers was formed. That group has created an innovative technology of neurorehabilitation capable of improving quality of life for millions of disabled people.
3. For whom you create your innovative product?
- The product facilitates rehabilitation of patients with sever motor disabilities such as poststroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury, and helps them operate special devices. After such injuries and diseases more than 500 thousand people become disabled in Russia every year. In the world this number is 5 million per year. It is for them that we make the product which will allow to rehabilitate impaired brain functions, and also provides the opportunity of direct brain-computer control. At the same time, we create this product for ourselves. We are a private company striving for development and implementation of technologies, and making a profit for new researches. We have some breakthrough ideas that can improve the quality of life of healthy users also.
4. Konstantin, do you think that your project will be popular with ordinary people, commercial organizations or public institutions?
- The potential market is already estimated at 15 billion rubles in Russia and about 30 billion dollars in the world. Besides, the market of rehabilitation and augmented human abilities is one of the most fast-growing (up to 40% per year — ABI Research). Speaking about our local plans of implementation, it is necessary to highlight already reached agreements on pilot introduction with Scientific Research Institute of Emergency Medicine of Dzhanelidze, Almazov’s Center, the city hospital N 40 of St. Petersburg and other city hospitals. These leading clinics are ready to apply our complex of neurorehabilitation even now, at a prototype stage. We consider these clinics and medical institutions the most important sales channels for our production which has to be also available for individual users both in clinic and at home. There is a significant demand (apprx. estimate 150 thousand people in the Russian Federation annually) for new generation rehabilitation complexes that can be used at home.
5. - Have you had an experience of participation in state procurements? What do you think about it?
Yes, we had such experience. In general, it seems to be one of the instruments for executing agreements and it is not the most transparent and convenient one. One has to have experience and specific skills in this field.
6. - Is it favorable to work with the state/government in your opinion, or to focus on commercial organizations??
- In my experience, the state (in it’s various forms) in the Russian Federation is the only real customer for large and medium business. Working in B2B (business to business) is healthier (and in general more transparent and favorable), but in the Russian Federation it is impossible at this stage. Therefore, even our small innovative company is focused on work with state organizations, including those working by means of state procurement.
Many thanks for your opinion and time! We wish you prosperity and success!