Student Ben Lakey has been awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellowship for his startup developing innovative prosthetics.
Ben, who co-founded Mitt Prosthesis while he was a student at Imperial, was recently awarded one of three Royal Academy of Engineering 1851 Enterprise Fellowships for recent graduates in the UK.
The award will support Mitt with £50,000 grant funding, as well as networking and mentoring support. The Fellowship is funded by the Royal Commission for the Great Exhibition of 1851, a grant-making educational trust based at Imperial.
The Enterprise Fellowship programme supports innovative, creative entrepreneurial engineers who have demonstrated an exceptional innovation in engineering which they want to develop further. The programme focuses on equipping the awardee with the confidence, skills, experience and network of expert advisers necessary to enable them to develop their innovation.
Mitt Wearables builds affordable, functional prosthetic limbs using recycled plastics and fabrics. Instead of having rigid sockets that clinicians must specially fit to users, Mitt’s prosthetic limbs have an adjustable interface that users can fit themselves, which makes them light, breathable and much more comfortable.
They are developing a growing range of task-specific tools that clip in and out of the prosthesis – for holding a pen, a kitchen knife, a table tennis bat or whatever the user needs.
Ben’s interest in prosthetics stemmed from a personal experience, after his sister had a traumatic foot injury 7 years ago that eventually led to a below-knee amputation. He saw first-hand the difficulties she experienced with rehabilitation and when trying to get prosthetics fitted correctly. He was introduced to co-founder Nate Macabuag (MEng Mechanical Engineering, 2018) who had begun to develop the idea for Mitt in the third year of his degree.
The idea had already seen success, coming second in the 2018 Venture Catalyst Challenge, Imperial’s flagship competition for student entrepreneurs and for the Social Impact Award in the London Business Awards.
With Mitt, Ben and Nate hope to make prosthetics globally accessible with their design that is easy to use and many times cheaper than the alternatives. They believe prosthetics should be a basic right and should be priced closer to clothing, than to a luxury car.
They will be the first direct-to-customer prosthetic as they have standardised sizes, much like shoes and plan for sales to start at the beginning of October. Prosthetics users can join the waiting list now on Mitt’s website to secure their opportunity to be the first to receive a Mitt prosthetic.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.
Leave a comment
Your comment may be published, displaying your name as you provide it, unless you request otherwise. Your contact details will never be published.