This year marks the launch of our new website (this one!) as well as our latest, and greatest EXO-004, Hip Exoskeleton to date: much lighter and more comfortable than previous prototypes. Committing to a large weight reduction relative to our legacy hip exoskeleton meant leveling up our in-house carbon fiber manufacturing capabilities; these very light, strong parts have enabled us to achieve best-in-class torque density, and we're looking forward to utilizing the techniques in future (re-)designs of other wearable devices. 2023 has been a big year for Humotech in terms of internal operational growth. In the spirit of continuous self improvement, we've implemented new systems for managing data that are enabling us to better serve our customers, more efficiently than ever before.
The year ahead is packed with exciting developments, including an all-new ankle exoskeleton which will incorporate the best of features from our EXO-001, EXO-005, and EXO-006 designs into a single modular device. Stay tuned for the EXO-010 Modular Ankle Exoskeleton!
Today, our holistic human-centered approach and unique technology serve to foster an ever-growing platform of tools and know-how, enriching a supportive community that enables engineers, scientists, developers, practitioners, and users to innovate more successfully wherever mobility challenges persist and wearable devices are imagined. What’s next for you? We’d love to partner on writing the next chapter together; let’s talk!
More Volume, More Systems
Our busiest year ever for system shipment volume! Having secured the next stage of funding for trials of a next-generation prosthetic foot emulation test-drive strategy, we developed our PRO-003 Modular Ankle-Foot Prosthesis with Multi-Axial Actuation, extending our approach to include uneven terrain, split-toe prosthetic foot designs, and balance-related outcomes to the suite of capabilities. We also launched our sister company Realize Labs to meet a growing need for collaboration with individual patients seeking intelligent technology solutions to meet complex mobility needs as well as innovative developers and manufacturers looking to leverage our domain expertise to enhance their own product portfolios.
On the Move
After several rounds of prototypes, we proudly released an all-new Portable Caplex System—complete with a comfortable form-fitting backpack—and demonstrated its capabilities by running, jumping, crawling, and climbing all over an urban snow-covered landscape near our headquarters.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck just a few months into the year, it profoundly impacted many aspects of our operations, from customer timelines and supply chain regularity to physical work siting. Nonetheless, we continued soldiering on and innovating through several key projects, including our first DoD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant-funded project, resulting in the successful completion of prototypes of our EXO-006 Two-Degree-of-Actuation Ankle Exoskeleton and the H-WARE, a passive adjustable ankle brace providing rapidly customizable assistance/resistance about the ankle joint for individuals with soft-tissue injuries. Humotech’s Website 2.0 launched and a new iteration of the Humotech logo was introduced!
The Big Move
With the size of our team—and complexity of our work—steadily increasing, we graduated to our first all-in-one physical location at the University of Pittsburgh Applied Research Center (or U-PARC), a large complex of commercial and light industrial operations just outside of Pittsburgh in Harmar, PA originally constructed as a Gulf Oil research laboratory campus. We also released our EXO-005 Low-Profile Ankle Exoskeleton, in response to the need for a more streamlined form factor and greater versatility in the integration with multiple shoe types.
DoD & VA Contracts
In 2018, we kicked off our first of many Department of Defense / Department of Veterans Affairs clinical trials centered around developing test-drive strategies to inform the selection of optimal prosthetic foot models/parameters. This required a total re-engineering of PRO-001 and the release of our PRO-002 Modular Ankle-Foot Prosthesis featuring adjustable forefeet, heel springs, and modular weights. We also ventured beyond the ankle region, with the first prototype of our EXO-004 Hip Exoskeleton; and beyond the lab, with our first prototype Portable Caplex System.
Expanding Client Base
Serving a broad range of customers working to innovate in quite an exciting variety of ways, we quickly realized that product streamlining would be beneficial as we grew and expanded our client base. Thus, we began to steer the Caplex platform design toward a modular system that could meet the requirements of any project, big or small. In 2017, systems began to grow in size with the release of our first Multi-Axis Actuator Units, starting with a 10-axis system that was ultimately used to develop and test control strategies for full lower-limb exoskeleton assistance.
Humotech began as a Carnegie Mellon University spin-off in 2015 in Pittsburgh, PA. It all started with a deceptively simple question that arose while our Founder, Josh Caputo, was developing ideas for a new kind of powered prosthetic ankle within the Experimental Biomechatronics Laboratory: what if, instead of building prototype after prototype, we could evaluate novel wearable machine concepts by programming robots to emulate the characteristics and performance of these concepts in real time while test subjects walk on them in a controlled lab environment ? Could a similar approach also be used to support clinical decision-making? Could such an approach pave the way for greater cooperation between scientists, manufacturers, clinicians, patients, and even insurance companies?
Considering tough technical problems and challenges within the ecosystem at large has been a key tenet of Humotech’s business from the beginning. From humble origins(truly, we worked out of our Founder’s garage for some years!)—armed with the knowledge that there are scientists in the field who would benefit from collaboration, and genuinely inspired to change the world — we immediately got to work with our first Full-Sized Caplex Systems.To date, our most commonly utilized systems in controlled research / testing environments are the Single-Axis Actuator Unit, our PRO-001 Ankle-Foot Prosthesis, and our EXO-001 High-Torque Ankle Exoskeleton.