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Fokus: an at-home training for children with ADHD

Portrait of Fokus, a startup co-founded by Kamil Benkirane, a student in the X-HEC entrepreneurship master's program and graduate of a master's degree in neurotechnology.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the most diagnosed neurodevelopmental disorder in children and adolescents in France. Fokus aims to re-educate the attention of children with ADHD through video games and neurotechnologies.

The principle is simple: a headset is placed on the child's head to record his or her brain activity and calculate a concentration score. According to his score, the child will be able to play different games: the more concentrated he is, the more the game advances. This mechanism helps him to visualize his attention and to train.

 

How did you get the idea for this project?

I have a passion for neurotechnology and then I discovered ADHD. It is a subject I know well because I am personally concerned. So I wanted to combine my passion for neurotechnologies and the subject of ADHD: it is a subject with an impact, which can really help people in the long term. I studied neurotechnology and got a master's degree in this field at Imperial College London and then I decided to join HEC to develop my entrepreneurial skills to be able to found Fokus.

 

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Have you encountered any difficulties during your entrepreneurial adventure?

The goal is to be able to certify Fokus as a medical device so that it can be considered as a treatment and thus be prescribed by doctors. For the time being, this does not represent a barrier since it will only be a concentration aid. On the other hand, the long-term challenge is for our solution to be recognized as a treatment, which requires two years of clinical trials. Today, we are using a headset that already exists and our goal is to provide children with the best possible experience through the application and games.

 

What will your victory in the student innovation day organized by the YES and the participation in entrepreneurial competitions in general bring you?

The prize money granted by Amazon Web Services is 1500 euros but also 1000 euros of credit at AWS, which will help us a lot. The fact of having won with AWS also brings us a mentor as well as a referent with whom we communicate a lot and who helps us on several aspects. In general, these competitions bring us visibility but also the validation of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in France.

 

What are the next steps for Fokus?

The next steps are to launch beta tests starting in July, with about thirty parents of ADHD children. We will provide them with a headset and the application which will allow us, after one month, to get the first results and feedback on the user experience in order to launch the product on the market in January 2022.

 

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The problem with ADHD is that the only treatment is a psychostimulant classified in France as a narcotic, it is a drug and it scares parents, especially when the child is young. Moreover, there is no alternative treatment to medication. Only 10% of ADHD patients are treated with medication and 90% remain without solution or treatment.

Fokus is positioned as both an alternative and a complement to medication, to allow people who refuse medication to be accompanied in the management of these disorders.