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Superflex startup that develops robotic exoskeleton raises $9.6M

Superflex raised $9.6 million in Series A. The startup produces and develops custom garments with flexible electric motors built in. It helps the wearer with everyday tasks. So, the investors include Japanese venture capital group Global Brain and Horizons Ventures, the VC fund of Asian billionaire Li Ka-shing.

Superflex is developing a lightweight suit with electric “muscles” that help the elderly and other less-mobile people move around. The system, which will look a bit like a unitard, is designed to provide the wearer with extra strength. So, The wearer of this suit will be able to get up from a chair or stand for longer. Indeed, the device has thin actuators built in that use battery power to contract at the same time as people’s real muscles.

The technology was originally developed at SRI, the company that incubated Apple’s Siri digital assistant. The exoskeleton project was part of a U.S. Department of Defense-funded program to reduce injury risk and enhance soldier endurance while carrying heavy loads.

Finally, Superflex said the VC money will help it turn this into a consumer product in 2018. Initially, it will target the aging population in Japan and other developed countries.

Source: Bloomberg (20 Dec)

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