CDT-Neuro student leads team to win £10K Robotics & Innovation prize


Naviga VCC image

A team led by CDT Neurotechnology student Irene Mendez-Guerra have won the Robotics and AI track of the VCC competition, receiving a prize of £10K.

Irene Mendez Guerra (CDT Neurotechnology), Ben Lakey (Mitt and Imperial alumni), Ivan Vujaklija (Prof. Aalto University and former Imperial associate) and Dario Farina (Chair Neurorehabilitation Engineering, Imperial) have created Naviga, which is developing intuitive, user friendly controls for prostheses. 

Missing a limb, specially the upper one, can be devastating to an individual’s life. In the UK alone, there are 20k upper limb different people whose rehabilitation cost the NHS £60M per year. However, current prostheses in the market are nonintuitive, rudimentary and require extensive training. This frustrates users and 40% end up abandoning them. To solve this, Naviga’s control system eliminates the long training sessions and improves the current control approaches to increase the acceptance, usage, and functionality of current prostheses.

After validating their technology with normally limbed users, they are currently working on their first embedded prototype. Thanks to this year’s Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) held by the Imperial Enterprise Lab and the £10k prise of the Robotics and AI track, they will start their clinical trials within six months.

Their next stop is the VCC Grand Final on Thursday 21st , where they are pitching for £30k.


Kate Hobson

Kate Hobson
Department of Bioengineering

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