January 3, 2023
As we dive into 2023, the Humotech team is reflecting upon 2022 as a year of significant growth and exciting internal improvements. The Pittsburgh region has increasingly been spotlighted, and we’re especially thankful for the help from our friends at the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, Pittsburgh Technology Council, Going Deep with Aaron Watson, and O&P Research Insights with Dr. Steve Gard; these organizations have brought new perspective and broader awareness to our mission to transform the way the world develops and uses wearable machines. We also appreciate our ongoing relationship with MathWorks and Gordon Composites, organizations that continue to support and co-market our developments within our industry.
We are excited to share our third annual review with you. Click below to learn more about our latest projects, products, and vision for 2023!
So Many Things to be Thankful for!
Humotech collaborators make up an incredibly innovative and forward-thinking research & development community undertaking a wide spectrum of projects from clinical translation of new technologies for orthotics & prosthetics, to fundamental biomechanics research, and even the development of new products for consumer applications. Our team continues to be encouraged by the growing focus on human-centered design and evidence-based R&D across all of the industries we interact with.
This year we delivered new client systems to the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, University of Notre Dame, Nottingham Trent University, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, University of California – Irvine, Minneapolis VA Health Care System, University of Dayton, and VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It was a busy year!
We are excited to share that the VA Puget Sound and Minneapolis VA are both using our all-new multi-axial prosthetic foot, PRO-003, in a clinical trial that is starting up to investigate A Prosthetic Foot Test-Drive Strategy for Improving Stability in Veterans With Leg Amputations. The University of Dayton will be our very first customer to implement our totally overhauled EXO-004 hip exoskeleton!
Meanwhile, our team and customers continue to publish high-impact publications contributing to a growing library of emulator-based research. Check out the latest research here.
The Open-Source Leg (OSL) Partnership Continues
We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Neurobionics Lab at the University of Michigan on the Open-Source Leg project. With this collaboration we’re able to help accelerate the development of software algorithms to control robotic prosthetic legs, which hold promise to provide the power and natural gait of a human leg to prosthetic users.
“We developed the open-source leg to foster the study of control strategies for robotic prostheses—one of the most prominent barriers hindering their public impact,” said Elliott Rouse, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and core faculty at U-M’s Robotics Institute.
Why is this so exciting? Well Humotech’s Caplex platform is fundamentally a tethered system with off-board actuators and controllers. This provides inherent performance advantages, but for some projects, greater portability is required and the OSL offers this in a clinical-product-like package.
Currently Humotech is offering the OSL as an assembly kit with warranty and other services, and in 2022 we hope to expand to providing fully-assembled legs as an option so that customers can hit the ground running with the OSL! With this version will come some additional usability and robustness improvements as well as more documentation on the use of the system.
Caplex Keeps Getting Better!
We are thrilled to announce the all-new PRO-003: a tethered multi-axial prosthetic foot appropriate for walking on a level, inclined, or cross-sloped treadmill, uneven treadmill, or stairmill for users weighing up to 263 lbs. Plantar/dorsi-flexion torque as well as inversion/eversion torque is controlled by the off-board Actuator Unit (Single-Axis or Multi-Axis) and Control System. Sensors include load cells for torque applied by an encoder for rotational position of the forefoot segments. It can accommodate a wide range of user foot sizes (approximately shoe sizes 26cm to 29cm, front toe to heel). Stay tuned for more details to be released soon!
Want one in your lab? Contact us for a quote!
Interns & Education
A summary of our past year’s happenings and accomplishments would be incomplete without an enthusiastic shout-out to our 2022 interns: Josh Deluca, Rahul Doraiswamy, and Nico Watsula! As a lean team, our internships truly require our students to jump in headfirst (and fearlessly!) to assist with critical design and production tasks as well as growing our sales and marketing efforts. We are proud to work with such talented, agile, and creative individuals.
Speaking of talent, our team has enjoyed growing collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh’s masters in Prosthetics and Orthotics program, providing students with an educational experience centered around our Caplex platform. Everyone knows that hands-on experience is critical to successful learning outcomes, and it’s been exciting to see how enlightening it is for students to feel for themselves how changes in prosthetic or orthotic device mechanics affects their gait or the gait of patient models in real time. You can’t get that kind of immediate feedback with traditional prototyping methods!
We welcomed our newest members in 2022: Michael Jehn, Operations Manager, and Candice Caputo, Vice President of Development. If you are a customer of ours, you may already recognize Michael as a critical part of our ongoing client support and product / inventory management. He has quickly risen as a key part of our team and we are lucky to have him aboard! Candice is the newest team member, and you will quickly see her establishing processes, meeting with potential clients, and engaging with our community at large. Welcome, Candice!
Every year, we encounter opportunities and face challenges within our unique industry and macroeconomic conditions at large. It’s been a tough time for all tech companies but we’re proud to say we continue to evolve as a team, improve operationally, and strengthen our commitment to our mission. 2022 required fundamental change and we are entering 2023 reborn and reinvigorated to deliver a game-changing platform for research & development in wearable machines. Stay tuned to learn more about exciting changes and expansions to our business model and product/service offerings coming soon—onwards and upwards!