Haptica, an Irish healthcare technology company, is among the winners of a prestigious European Commission prize for groundbreaking products. The Irish company was one of 20 winners selected as part of the European Information Society Technologies (IST) Prize 2004.
The competition is run by Euro-CASE, a European non-profit organisation of national Academies of Applied Sciences, Technologies and Engineering from 18 European countries. The European Commission then supports and sponsors the competition.
Independent experts from 16 European countries evaluated 430 candidate products from 29 countries on criteria of technical innovation and excellence. Other prizewinners come from Finland, France, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Each winner will receive € 5,000 and will be invited to exhibit their products in the European IST Prize Winners Village at the 2004 IST Event in The Hague from 15-17 November.
The judges selected Haptica for its flagship product ProMIS, a simulator for learning the basic skills and techniques of minimally invasive surgery. ProMIS allows users to interact with virtual and physical models in the same unit while providing accurate feedback on performance.
“European IST Prize winners attract international recognition and great interest from venture capitalists,” commented Enterprise and Information Society commissioner Olli Rehn. “High standards and tough screening of candidates for innovation and market potential make this contest a breeding ground for technological excellence, and hence industrial competitiveness.”
In addition to product development, Haptica has a strong research and development focus; the company is also involved in EU-funded research projects. Haptica, which was founded in 2000 by Gerard Lacey and Fiona Slevin, employs nine people at its Dublin headquarters and it recently opened a US office in Boston.
By Gordon Smith