While working alongside orthodontists Firas Harrabi became aware of a specific issue faced by this profession. He created the start-up Winnove with the aim of optimising a very specific task: wire bending in orthodontic treatment.
Wire bending today
Firas is a trained engineer, with 5 years’ experience, including 3 years in biomechanics and 2 years in R&D project management in the dental field.
Today, orthodontists who treat children and adults attach brackets to their patients’ teeth and insert a wire between these brackets which is bent in order to straighten the teeth. The wire is bent and then inserted and there are currently two techniques for the bending stage.
The first: the orthodontist uses pliers to manually bend the wire. This technique has two disadvantages: the lack of precision and time taken. The lack of precision impacts the duration of treatment and the time taken by the specialist to complete the bending (around an hour), makes this activity uneconomical.
“The second technique is offered by an American laboratory: the orthodontist sends the photos, X-rays and clinical data for the patient and bending is outsourced. This also has two disadvantages: the additional cost of between 800 on average. The overall cost of a standard treatment is currently between 3,000 and 5,000 euros. And the waiting time, which is around eight weeks between sending the information and receiving the wire”, explains Firas.
Automating the wire bending in-house with RoboBend
With RoboBend, Winnove offers a new alternative, midway between the two existing solutions: an automated mini-robot bends the wire directly at the practice.
RoboBend is an in-house orthodontic wire bending machine that makes it possible for practitioners to automate this everyday task. With three major benefits:
- Central technology adapted to all types of practices;
- Time-saving: controlled via a digital interface, the robot bends the wire, providing the specialist with a pre-bent wire to insert;
- Greater precision which reduces treatment times by 30%, offering fewer appointments for the patient and greater profitability for the practitioner.
“I have worked with many orthodontists and dentists during my experience in R&D management, I have worked with University Hospitals in the West of France, Germany and Tunisia. I perceived a need and I wanted to find a solution to this wire bending issue” states Firas. The start-up Winnove’s journey to Le Booster saw an already well-advanced project mature and user interviews validated the hypotheses of Firas’ work. RoboBend is well on its way to becoming the essential assistant for orthodontists!