The De La Salle University – Institute of Biomedical Engineering and Health Technologies (DLSU-IBEHT) secured its first patent certificate for the Agapay Project, a 3D-printed wearable robotic exoskeleton for upper extremity rehabilitation of post-stroke or injured patients.
According to the information provided by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) on Monday, July 4, DLSU-IBEHT was able to obtain the patent certificate from the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).
With the patent, DLSU-IBEHT team is granted exclusive rights in making, using, or selling the product. This also gives them an advantage in negotiating for commercialization.
Developed with support from DOST-PCHRD, Agapay, is part of the ongoing initiatives of the DLSU-IBEHT to boost the field of hospital equipment and biomedical devices in the country.
Aside from being tailored to suit the needs of Filipino patients, the device is user-friendly, safe to use, comfortable, and cost-effective. Overall, it will provide patients 12-degree-of-freedom (DoF) for motor rehabilitation, 7-DoF for better control and movement precision, 3-DoF for shoulder mobility, 2-DoF for the elbows, and 2-DoF for the wrist and hands.
The current prototype is at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4, which means that it is now set for clinical trials. The research team is now working on the protocols for the upper limb robotic exoskeleton safety and human pilot testing.
“The primary goal of Agapay is to initiate and spearhead the R&D and commercialization of medical robotics in the country,” Agapay project leader Dr. Renann Baldovino said.
“With this type of development, we Filipinos can develop our own medical devices and equipment locally. This will not only lower the cost of medical checkups and procedures but will strengthen our capability to develop more innovative products ready for commercialization,” he added.
Meanwhile, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stated that they are proud to see how their work with the DLSU-IBEHT generated solutions that serve healthcare burdens, especially in increasing access to biomedical devices in the country
“Granted with a patent certificate, the Agapay team is now closer to achieving its goal of providing a locally-developed device to support the recovery of Filipino post-stroke or injured patients,” he added.
The Agapay team is actively looking for potential industry partners for value engineering and manufacturing of the device. To date, the DOST has invested more than PhP 16 million in the project.