Care robot LEA, the seniors’ buddy
Robot Care Systems builds smart personal assistant
Lean Eldery Assistant (LEA) is a robot disguised as a rollator. This innovative robot created by inventor and entrepreneur Maja Rudinac helps elderly people to remain independent for a longer time. Rudinac won Rabobank’s Herman Wijffels Innovation Award in 2015. That gave other investors the confidence to support Rudinac’s business Robot Care Systems as well.
Rudinac has been building healthcare robots for more than ten years and firmly believes that robotics is set to change the world. "Robots are smart solutions to make things easier for people, just like a telephone or a washing machine. Our LEA can do a lot for elderly people. It is their personal assistant, as it were. The robot will come to you on command, help you to get up and move, but also remind you when to take your medication. The built-in communications in LEA allow you to get in touch with your family, healthcare professionals or an emergency service. With its special arm, LEA can also get objects for you or pick them up from the floor. People can remain self-sufficient for a longer time thanks to LEA."
Passion, listening and determination
Passion about your product, listening carefully to the target group and determination - Rudinac says these are the secrets for the successful commercial development of an innovative product. "Believe in what you do and always look at the users first. Try to find out which problems they face and then build something that solves those problems for them. If you make something that people really need, selling it and finding investors is not difficult. And of course, no one can be successful without a share of good luck. Be determined, keep going, often you have to try something a hundred times before it works. I say so from personal experience. Before LEA, I built several healthcare robots that were not quite good enough."
More than money
The Herman Wijffels Innovation Award is a wonderful boost for Rudinac. "The money that came with the award enabled us to set up a test and demonstration room, where we will test and demonstrate LEA’s operation and benefits for users and healthcare professionals. But in fact the prestige the award gave us may be even more important than the money. It helped us greatly to get in touch with other investors and care institutions. The award really makes a difference in that respect, it instils confidence."
Herman Wijffels Innovation Award
Every year, entrepreneurs, startups and students compete for the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award (HWI). For as many as fifteen years, the Herman Wijffels Innovation Award has been stimulating innovations that contribute to a sustainable future. In total, more than 5,500 innovations have taken part, making it the leading sustainable innovation award in the Netherlands. With this award Rabobank supports innovative entrepreneurs in finding their way to the market. The awards are divided into three categories, Vital Communities and Care, Circular Economy and Food & Agri. There is a main award of EUR 20,000 for each category. Registration for the 2016 HWI has now closed, the awards ceremony will take place on 3 November 2016.