5 Apr '16
The Moscow Technological Institute (MTI), one of Moscow’s leading tech-focused universities, has plans by the end of 2017 to invest more than a million dollars in three projects that participated in GenerationS, Russia’s largest tech start-up accelerator program.
The select three include AnyWalker with its all-terrain chassis, NVR developing a virtual reality neurohelmet, and BiTronics Lab, a prototyping laboratory for bioneurosignal-focused projects.
AnyWalker is a universal all-terrain chassis which is believed to be capable of traversing any lands with or without obstacles, and even opening doors. The device is designed for educational purposes (to study mechanics, programming and cybernetics), for military applications, and also in the development of household and service robots. The Moscow university has already invested about $43,000 in the project. Mid-term plans are for the start-up to increase chassis production to a thousand a year and have $10-15m in global sales by 2018.
Russia’s first virtual reality neurohelmet, NVR, comes from MTI labs and is already used in education and gaming. The NVR developers bet on patents in the field of neurofeedback processing and artificial neural networks based virtual medium construction. The new helmet could be used for defense purposes and also in medicine and research. The NVR project has already raised more than $85,000 in funding.
The BiTronics project calls for the development of a prototyping lab for human bioneurosignals and a sort of “biometric Meccano.” MTI has already partnered with KSI Ventures, a VC fund, in an initial $143,000 investment deal. BiTronics is said to be promising enough in the Russian market as part of the NeuroNet segment of Russia’s long-term National Technology Initiative. This new construction kit to receive and process biosignals will also be used as a “build and play” kind of toy in teaching children the ABCs of neurotechnology. The BiTronics product also has global commercialization potential, the investors believe; the project developers hope to sell up to 50,000 sets worth a total of $20m in “a near future.”
GenerationS is the largest federal start-up accelerator program run since 2013 by RVC, Russia’s fund of funds for innovation. Last year, RVC funneled much of GenerationS’ resources into the development of corporate accelerator programs. Corporates have taken active part in screening and evaluating projects, and in developing the accelerator program itself.