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Bioniks, a Pakistan-based med-tech enterprise that grew rapidly from a startup stage to a social enterprise, is participating in the Challenge & Innovation Forum (CIF) 2021 taking place at the Qatar National Convention Centre from November 7 to 11.
The Ministry of Sports and Youth, represented by Qatar Scientific Club, has organised the event under the slogan “With The Mind, We Untie The Knots”.
Bioniks is developing high-quality, affordable, lightweight, and smart (robotic) prosthetics to empower people with congenital anomalies or those who lost limbs due to electrocution or fatal accidents. 
Bioniks has manufactured hundreds of robotic arms and empowered people, mimicking the function of a real arm with amazing colors and functionalities.
“The biomechatronics-based myoelectric bionik arms allow people to live their lives to the fullest and overcome their disabilities. And we do this by merging humanitarianism with cutting-edge technology,” said Anas Niaz, director and co-founder of Bioniks, while speaking to Qatar Tribune.
Bioniks was initiated in 2015 when two mechatronics engineering students of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Anas Niaz and Ovais Hussain Qureshi, were approached by a five-year-old child named Mir Baayan Baloch, who was living a congenital anomaly and was looking for a prosthetic bionic arm.
Anas and Ovais, who were developing a brain-controlled exoskeleton to be used in remote surgeries and to control radioactive material from a safe distance, pivoted their research and developed a 3D printed bionic arm for Bayaan.
This changed their lives forever and they established a dedicated startup to develop affordable high-tech bionik arms to empower humanity. 
“Since 2015, Bioniks has empowered more than 95 beneficiaries, won multiple national and international accolades and has established the world record of providing a bionik arm to the youngest beneficiary Muhammad Sideeq from Charsaddah Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It has been incubated at the ICCBS Technology Park and accelerated at the National Incubation Center, Karachi, respectively,” said Niaz.
The existing powered prosthetics that exist in the market, according to Niaz, are heavy and require complex surgery to install the machine brain interface mechanism. They are very expensive and people living in developing and under-developed countries can’t even reach them because of visa restrictions.
“Our solution has solved all of these pain points. Bioniks’ solution costs three times less than the solutions that are available in European, American and Middle Eastern markets. Currently, we are producing three variants of products -- Black X, Zindagi 2.0, and Superhero Arm,” said Niaz. 
Bioniks has participated in many international events to promote the soft and advance imagine of Pakistan.
“We are honoured to represent Pakistan in the biggest regional innovation forum, where participants from more than 25 counties are taking part and where 94 innovators are making it a wonderful event,” added Niaz.
The Bionik team, he noted, believes it can become world’s most advanced biomecatonics company provided they get the right support. 
Currently, they are struggling to make hardware locally as advanced technology is not accessible in Pakistan and no funding is available for innovative hardware products which can help them export their products globally.
When asked to explain the difference between prosthetic and bionics, Niaz replied: “A prosthetic is an artificial device to replace a missing body part, such as a limb whereas bionic is an artificial limb electronically or mechanically powered and controlled by a person’s brain.”
Explaining how a bionic arm works, he said, “The bionic hand works by picking up signals from a person’s muscles, the same muscles we use to make biological hand work. Bionic arms are plug and play which means no surgery is required. You can take it off and on easily. Once fitted with the prosthesis, patients usually attend brief physical therapy.”
He added, “As a manufacturers of robotic prosthetics since 2015, we have also had the pleasure of witnessing how many of our patients are seemingly brought back to life after being fitted with the proper prosthetic limb.
“We work to provide people hope and encouragement. Just because someone has lost a limb doesn’t mean they can’t live a full life with better days ahead of you. In fact, we’ll go through a few ways that a prosthesis can help them in living a quality life.”
Bioniks recently manufactured prosthesis for 26 years old Hamza. “His case was different as he was electrocuted. We designed a skin-colored prosthetic for him as he wanted it in the skin tone. After using his robotic arm, he was satisfied and happy,” said Niaz.
Hammad Hamid, an eight-year-old child with congenital limb defect came to Bioniks and they designed a super cool prosthetic for him, which he liked a lot. While designing the prosthetic for Hammad they looked into different parameters including size, comfort and colors with high quality functionality.
Prominent Pakistani community member Engineer Arshad Hussain was among those who attended the event and supported Bioinks’ initiative. “We are proud to see the stall of Bioniks from Pakistan at Challenge & Innovation Forum (CIF) 2021. This is a great initiative by Qatar to promote and encourage start-ups and young innovators. There is no dearth of talent in Pakistani youth. If they are supported they can do wonders,” remarked Hussain.
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