Hurotics is a company that works on exoskeleton-type applications that are lightweight and adaptable to the user’s morphology. Hurotics stands for Human+Robotics, which is a great name for a company that wants to help humans move beyond their limits “through human-robot collaboration,” according to their website.
In Seoul, South Korea, I had the opportunity to look at the H-Flex product in person. H-Flex is a product presented here at CES 2024. It is a product designed to help with rehabilitation exercises at home.
Hopefully, you’ll never experience it, but many people who might need walking or standing rehabilitation may get some help at the hospital after an initial accident or incident. Although in-clinic rehabilitation is important and resource-intensive, it does not last long for cost and availability reasons.
Once at home, there’s a huge opportunity to pursue some form of rehabilitation, but most people don’t because it’s not convenient or requires a specialist to help, etc.
H-Flex is designed to be light, cost-effective, and easy to use. As such, it does not require a medical specialist to operate, and patients or family members should be able to use it. The principle is simple: there are motor modules that pull artificial muscles strapped to the legs.
The function of that artificial muscle is to provide the extra strength required to perform a movement (or to stay balanced), hopefully, until the person has trained enough to operate on their own.
While this design might not appear as “high-tech” as other exoskeletons, it has the advantage of being very configurable to match the patient’s body perfectly, even if the needs are asymmetric (the left and right sides aren’t the same length or strength). The artificial muscle length is configurable for that reason.
Inside the motor box, a sensor keeps an eye on the tension and triggers the motor when needed, at the exact force required. The algorithm behind this is an AI that runs locally, and not inside a data center. It has been trained with established data, and motion capture data as well.
Hurotics collaborates with the Seoul University Hospital and hopes to do the same with others, such as the University of Illinois Chicago and others. Ultimately, the startup wants to establish an office in Chicago and get FDA approval to sell in the USA market.