Michal Prywata & Thiago Caires
Co-founders, Bionik Laboratories Inc.
Entrepreneurs, Digital Media Zone, Ryerson University
“If you have a crazy idea, just start with the basics and work on it. That’s what we did, and we eventually replaced an entire surgery with something we started from scratch”
Michal & Thiago’s CareerMash
Blending medicine, engineering, and business skills, Michal and Thiago’s start-up company, Bionik Labs, develops a variety of medical technologies. They identify gaps in existing technologies and fill them with original, innovative solutions. Their prize-winning mechanical arm is one such invention: It uses a radical new way to move mechanical parts that Michal and Thiago have named “air muscle”. A traditional prosthetic (replacement) arm is controlled remotely by muscle of nerve signals that the patient must learn to exert physically. Michal and Thiago’s air muscle arm is the first to be controlled by a device worn on the head that monitors brain activity and translates your thoughts into arm movements. Next, they plan to develop a solution for total lung replacement, which could save hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
A Day in the Life
Working in a start-up company is energy and time consuming, but rewarding. “Even if you work 16 hours a day you’re still having a good time,” Thiago says. That’s in part because Bionik Laboratories is located at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), a thriving community of young tech entrepreneurs who often help each other on projects.
Michal and Thiago often go on the road to demonstrate their products at industry events and medical innovation contests. They’ve even been featured on The Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet!
Both Michal and Thiago are working on bachelor of biomedical engineering degrees at Ryerson University. Teamed up as students they won accolades and cash prizes for various inventions, which led them to start their company.