The Ukrainian maker of a next-gen hand prosthesis is making the cover of Time magazine, which has featured it this year among “200 innovations changing how we live.”
With its five separate movable fingers, this lightweight prosthesis combines low-power electronics and light movable machinery design to articulate 288 metal, plastic or silicon components.
But not only that: this artificial hand is a self-learning device that “accurately detects muscle activity, recognizes situations and predicts the grip that would fit a particular context.”
“The more you use it, the faster and more precise it gets, and the more it feels like you were born with it,” explains Esper Bionics on its website.
Esper Hand is the brainchild of a medical doctor and engineer, Dima Gazda. His invention was noticed in a local biomedical startup competition as soon as it emerged at the idea stage, in 2018. Gazda incorporated his company, Esper Bionics, in 2019.
The next year, the prosthesis MVP was tested by a volunteer, which triggered a Ukrainian fund, SMRK, to inject an undisclosed amount into the startup.
In 2021, Esper Hand was lab tested and FDA registered. In 2022, the company opened an office in Berlin and announced its started clinical activities in the USA in beta testing.
In addition to hand prostheses, the startup is now also developing a “non-invasive wearable brain-computer interface” and a “cloud-based software solution to individualize the control of wearables” — christened ‘Esper Control’ and ‘Esper Platform,’ respectively.
“Our robotic products are where design, manufacturing, and engineering play together; where passion brings beauty, precision gives gracefulness, expertise ensures endurance; where extra abilities are born” — Esper Bionics
Esper Bionics’ international awards include the Vernadsky Challenge, the Red Dot Award, and the Healthcare Innovation World Cup, where Gazda was ranked among the top three “world techpreneurs.”
Time magazine selects every year the “most impactful new products and ideas,” based on the reports of its editors and correspondents around the world and through an online application process. Each contender is evaluated on such factors as “originality, efficacy, ambition and impact.”