Following a lengthy research and development period that started in 2006 with Yeong at Imperial College London, TechCare managed to introduce a series of robotics systems called the Compact Rehabilitation Robot (CR2) in 2014. Their core product, the CR2-Haptic, can be used to train wrist movements in a virtual reality environment.
Along the R&D journey, TechCare managed to raise around RM1 million, mostly in university research grants with some money coming from winning robotics competitions. The team also developed 15 different prototypes which racked up more than 20 awards, with 19 papers published and eight filings for intellectual property – three patents, four copyrights and one trademark.
In addition to assisting stroke patients, CR2-Haptic can also help those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries or other neurological disorders resulting in hand and arm impairment.
By enabling patients to train themselves while playing games, CR2-Haptic helps make the rehabilitation process enjoyable. This motivates patients to train more frequently, which is crucial for speedy recovery, says Khor.
Besides being compact and portable, CR2-Haptic also provides multiple customisable therapy modes. As it is reconfigurable, compact and portable, it can also benefit patients who have been discharged from hospital, as they can perform rehabilitation training at home.
Aiming to become a regional leader in the design and manufacture of rehabilitation and assistive devices, TechCare is expecting to get their robot certified this year. Certification is necessary as the robots will be in touch with patients.
Ultimately, says Khor, the aim is to become a global player that provides multiple products and services in the field of rehabilitation, fitness, sport sciences and healthcare. But in achieving this dream, the biggest challenge has been to develop a robot that truly meets the needs of therapists and patients.
In addition, although a lot of effort has been put into building, testing and improvising their robot, things didn’t always happen as expected. Through it all, they have kept spirits up by remembering why they decided to do this in the first place.
This dedication and persistence has led to a string of successes. TechCare has won numerous international competitions and awards. The most memorable, says Khor, was its win at the British Invention Show 2013 in the United Kingdom. "Entering as undergraduates with very limited resources and experience, we had only aimed to get a medal," he recalls.
However, Khor's team did Malaysia proud when they won some top awards, including the World Invention Award, the Diamond Award for Commercialisation, and the Gold Medal.
As a young entrepreneur, Khor is always keen to learn and gain experience. So when he heard about the Coach and Grow Programme (CGP), he didn’t hesitate to sign up.
The CGP, he says, has been a tremendous boost, especially in helping the team understand business concepts and how to execute in practice. He is also grateful to have met experienced entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors who have provided valuable guidance during face-to-face coaching sessions.
Khor also credits the CGP for creating a big impact in TechCare's commercialisation journey, and he hopes more entrepreneurs will be able to benefit from the programme in the future.
The most important lesson
Having learned and experienced a lot in a short period of time, Khor offers sound advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, "Accept failure, as it is a most important lesson."
He cites Steve Jobs and Sir James Dyson as prime examples. Jobs was fired from the company he founded only to return later and transform it into one of the most successful companies of all time. Meanwhile, Dyson, the pioneer and inventor of the bagless vacuum, went through 5,126 failed prototypes before developing one that worked.
It’s a simple formula, says Khor. “Whatever happens, never give up!"
Discover TechCare Innovation at http://techcareinnovation.com/
The above is an excerpt from the book Startups to Scaleups published in October 2015 by Cradle Fund and Proficeo Consultants, the programme manager for Cradle’s Coach and Grow Programme. DNA will be featuring every entrepreneurial story from the book in a special commercial arrangement.
Source from Digital News Asia