Exoskeleton startup RoboCT receives fund to forge ahead in talent race

Wang added that apart from aiding the recovery of mobility-impaired patients, its exoskeleton can also be worn by senior citizens.

RoboCT (程天科技), a startup making exoskeleton, has closed a new round of funding for an undisclosed amount of money, invested by Pappas Capital and existing shareholder Yuhang Financial Holdings Group.

Following the recent fundraiser, Hangzhou-headquartered RoboCT will used the proceeds to hire R&D and marketing talent from around the world.

Besides, it will continue to partner with research and clinical institutions to expand the adoption of its exoskeleton platform based on what it calls RaaS (rehabilitation as a service.)

Notably, it’s rare for a domestic smart hardware startup these das to raise funds from a foreign investor amid exit uncertainties for USD venture funds. Pappas Capital operates from its office in Durham, North Carolina.

Previous to the latest fundraising, RoboCT had roped in famed investors like Fortune Capital, Bluerun Ventures (now renamed Lanchi Ventures), Essence Securities and Poly Capital.

Founded in 2017, RoboCT is dedicated to the development of core algorithms and components related to exoskeleton technologies.

Currently, its innovations are deployed to rehabilitation and senior care industries, mainly serving the needs of medical and rehab facilities and individual users.

Wang Tian, founder and CEO of RoboCT, decided upon a foray into rehab robotics, especially exoskeleton, after discovering that it is at the confluence of three dimensions: rigid demand, high user frequency and practicality.

“Exoskeleton is in effect a product that can augment and empower human physical capabilities, satisfying human desire to become stronger,” said Wang. “Addressing rehab and senior care issues, which everyone faces, through exoskeleton, is the key.”

RoboCT’s UGO, an exoskeleton it developed for use in rehab clinics, can gauge the intentions of wearers, providing them with training sessions covering multiple gaits and scenarios.

Based on a multitude of clinical data and algorithms, the device can help users adjust their gaits.

What’s more, it stimulates patients to undergo active physiotherapy by encouraging them to apply whatever remaining muscle power they have.

In the meantime, RoboCT’s exoskeleton will also generate a force to constrain the patients’ physical movement, lest they learn the wrong gaits.

“We’ve performed 100,000 clinical applications,” said Wang, the CEO. “This enables our exoskeletons to continuously optimize gait interaction and simulation, until we arrive at the most suitable ways of use for the patient.”

Consumer-facing application

According to him, over the past two years, RoboCT has applied its technologies in more than 560 rehab centers, associations of disabled people, and hospitals, spanning over 92% of the provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions nationwide and providing upwards of 300,000 robot-assisted therapies.

Wang added that apart from aiding the recovery of mobility-impaired patients, its exoskeleton can also be worn by senior citizens.

The gadget generates an assistive force, enabling them to walk, socialize, attend to their own needs and live with dignity.

Data released by ABI Research, a market intelligence provider, indicates that the exoskeleton market worldwide is expected to grow to US$6.8 billion in 2030 from a mere US$392 million in 2020.

Across the world, RoboCT faces stiff competition like Ekso Bionics, Cyberdyne and Rewalk abroad and Fourier Intelligence (傅利叶智能), AI Robotics (大艾机器人) and MileBot (迈步机器人).

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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