Improved quality of life for people with reduced hand mobility: by returning hand mobility to its users, the glove allows them to perform tasks that would be difficult or impossible to perform in a comfortable way.
Inclusion of people with hand mobility problems: the glove has a significantly lower cost when compared to the existing systems on the market (25% of the price charged by SEM Glove and NASA/GM). By being more affordable, it is accessible to more people. On top of this, its aesthetics (beautiful and discrete) help avoid any potential discriminatory situations towards people with any hand disability.
Improved healthcare: the real time data tracking that can be accessed and analysed by the user or a healthcare professional, will improve the health care provided by allowing for a more customized and holistic treatment.
Nuada is a Portuguese tech startup that develops soft and intelligent exoskeletons. Their patented technology was first applied to the hand in order to create a system that looks like a normal glove, enabling its user to hold objects up to 40 kgs with their hand completely relaxed. The idea has been successfully validated, there are people wanting to buy and Nuada is now preparing the industrialization phase. The electronic glove is safe, light, and small and was designed to be affordable and non-intrusive. By using thin, breathable, flexible, and smart textiles that are customizable, it’s a unique enhancement technology developed to be an everyday essential wearable that people forget they are wearing.
The funds raised through GoParity will be used as a bridge loan that will allow the promoter to continue its activity until it receives the intermediate payment from the European Union outright fund, predicted for December 2020.
The system was designed having in mind people suffering from any kind of hand or wrist musculoskeletal disease and/or acute pain. These symptoms affect several millions of people in the world due to multiple causes such as aging, arthritis, strokes, occupational diseases, among others.
From the company’s contacts with stakeholders, two other markets have emerged: labor-intensive industries with the use being mostly related to occupational disease prevention or productivity enhancement; and the sports sector, mainly to provide a tool for rehabilitation and performance improvement for amateur or handicapped sports practitioners.
The flagship product is composed of a glove, with bioinspired artificial tendons and multiple sensors, and a bracelet, comprising most of the electronics and connectivity. The proprietary software and sensor arrays provide automatic and intelligent interaction in order to achieve a seamless user experience. It also shares sensor data from the glove to a smartphone and a cloud-based server, which can then be accessed and analyzed by the user or a healthcare professional in a smartphone, PC, or tablet app in real-time or on-demand.
According to the World Health Organization, the proportion of older people requiring support from adults of working age will increase from 10,5% in 1955 and 12,3% in 1995 to 17,2% in 2025. Since elderly people have different healthcare requirements, health systems will need to adapt so they can provide adequate care and remain financially sustainable. According to the World Heart Foundation, there are 15 million new cases of stroke per year worldwide and 50 million people in the USA suffering from arthritis. Adding to this, repetitive-stress job injuries account for around 30% of doctor-diagnosed Musculoskeletal Disorders. These numbers represent an immense opportunity for service robots, such as the NUADA glove, to help compensate for the disability effects in the function of hand manipulation. It is a largely “unexploited territory” with developments happening simultaneously by few players and the promoter is clearly one of the front runners worldwide, due to its stage of development, functionalities, value-for-money, and expected time-to-market.
Several pilots and tests with established multinationals (in the automotive and hardware industry): from the more than 300 companies that asked for pilots, in January 2017 Nuada initiated pilots and on-site meetings with Volkswagen Group (Auto-Europa), Hilti (US and Portugal) and Comau (Italy). This allowed the company to create good traction, market validation, and the right awareness for their technology. In the near future, the company expects to add My Handspring (US Healthcare), Hospitals in Portugal, and Hospitals in the UK.
More than 1.000 people registered in pre-sale: so far, the company has received over 1.000 inbound contacts without any type of marketing effort, from people wanting to buy the glove.
Ready to approve exclusive distribution depending on annual minimum sales: secured Letters of Intent from distributors across Portugal, Angola, Mozambique, and the UAE. This model is easy to scale, leveraging on established sales channels; requires fewer resources (logistics and marketing) when compared to direct sales.
On top of this, the startup has secured an outright grant of € 1,7 M from the European Union.