Lab Business November/December 2017

Page 8

Health care



obots are revolutionizing healthcare in unprecedented and remarkable ways. Today, they’re assisting surgeries in operating rooms, caring for elderly patients in their homes and delivering specimens throughout hospitals, among other tasks. The market for health care robots, including surgical robots, hospital robots, and rehabilitation robots, is expected to grow in revenue from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $2.8 billion by 2021, according to a Research and Markets report. For those involved in the technology development space, being futureminded is part of the job. Michal Prywata is Chief Technology Officer and Co-founder of Bionik Laboratories, a medical device and robotics company that provides rehabilitation and assistive technology solutions to people with neurological and mobility challenges. While studying biomedical engineering at Toronto’s Ryerson University, he co-invented the world’s first robotic, prosthetic arm that is controlled by brain signals. “I originally wanted to be a doctor, but became very interested in the robotics space and decided not to pursue medicine,” he says. “I thought, ‘I have all this knowledge in biomedical engineering, I’d love to apply it to real-world applications in health care, work with patients and create technologies that have a global human impact.’” In 2010, he started Bionik Laboratories in Toronto, and in 2016, opened a second headquarters in Boston. The benefits of being in both locations include harnessing top talent and working in prime healthcare and technology hubs. Approximately 50 people work for Bionik Laboratories, and 70 per cent of the team is on the engineering side. The lab in Toronto is approximately 6,000 square-feet and is used for prototyping, software development, electrical systems development and also includes a general engineering space for industrial design. The Boston lab is approximately 12,000 square-feet and includes production and prototyping space, a shipping and receiving area with a dock, a con-

A robotics company founded in Toronto is restoring mobility among stroke patients and paving the way for a future of affordable, assistive technologies story by

Melissa Wallace