After losing father’s arm in train accident, engineer son develops affordable bionic limbs
Catering to the disabled patients from rural population, award-winning startup Exobot Dynamics developing reliable and comfortable advanced bionic limbs
Working for a noble cause and bringing an advanced product in the market are a combination that makes this award-winning startup. Exobot Dynamics Pvt Ltd, a Delhi-based medical equipment manufacturing startup, was recently recognized as one of the top five innovative startups at Telangana government’s flagship healthcare event, BioAsia 2023.
Founded in 2022 by Munish Kumar and Dr Mukesh Rohilla, the startup creates social impact by making life easier for people with disabilities. Considered as the future of prosthetics, it develops bionic products at an affordable price, redefining the meaning of humanity and the true essence for setting up a business.
Munish is in charge of the technology such as prototype development, design, assembly, and others. He is currently pursuing PhD in Mechanical Engineering. His knowledge of design, manufacturing, materials, robotics, and product development is utilised for developing the products. He started working on research and development of bionic products in 2019.
Dr Rohilla is a certified prosthetist and holds a Master’s in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO) from Swami Vivekanand National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research (SVNIRTAR), Odisha. She manages the clinical part such as patient handling and device fitment. In a conversation with Bizz Buzz, Munish Kumar, CEO of Exobot Dynamics, unfolds his urge to develop more products and serve the lesser privileged.
How did you come up with the concept of developing bionics?
It started when my father lost both his arms in a train accident in 2014.We could not find a solution that could help my father do his tasks. Most of the devices we came across were lacking in movements, they were heavy and too expensive. That is when this idea of developing an advanced and affordable bionic hand was conceived. The development work started in 2019 but the startup was officially incorporated in 2022. Dr Mukesh Rohilla met me in 2019 through an article published in the local newspaper. She expressed her willingness to assist and come onboard for a social cause.
How does the recognition for your futuristic product support your initiative?
This has been a great opportunity for us to showcase our work in disability sector. We have received ample amount of recognition, feedback and network in Telangana which was made possible by BioAsia. We look forward to work in collaboration with BioAsia team, Telangana government and the Hyderabad healthcare ecosystem. We believe, with all this support, we can propel our work to change lives of millions of people.
As a startup, what aid do you expect from the State or Central government?
We expect the government to open the ecosystem for new age startups like ours’ who want to make a difference. We would be happy if they support us in our journey to get in touch with relevant stakeholders, hospitals, clinics and patients who need such solutions. Other support in terms of funding, clinical trials, setting up manufacturing facility, etc is also welcomed.
The lives you are looking to touch through your products…
Our focus is on people with limb disabilities who don’t have access to proper prosthetic or bionic solution. Most of these people live in rural areas like small cities, towns, and villages. Only 20-30 per cent of people with limb disabilities are using a prosthetic device. We want to provide effective solution enabling them to become self-reliant and an active member of the society. Currently we are developing solutions for upper-limb amputees. We envision to serve every form of locomotor disability with our advanced and affordable bionic devices.
How is Exobot Dynamics placed against competitors?
We are developing advanced bionic limbs which mimic the functional capabilities of a natural human limb such as hand, arm or leg. We focus on providing reliability as well as comfort. So that a user doesn’t have to worry about anything while using the device. Our devices are strong, durable, light-weight and comes with a long battery life.
Which products are currently available?
We have developed prototype of bionic hand, for people who lost their hands in any accident, trauma or any other reason. Other products for upper and lower limb disabilities are under development.
Where does the designing and manufacturing take place?
We design and manufacture the parts inside our lab at Atal Incubation Centre (AIC) - IIT Delhi.
Where do you source the raw materials from?
The raw material is sourced from within the country mostly. We wanted to make the device affordable and ‘Made in India,’ so we use commonly available material or components from the Indian market and use our engineering innovation skills to convert them into quality parts.
Could you tell us about your team?
Our team size is of around 10, including people from various backgrounds such as mechanical engineering, electronics/electrical engineering, computer science, and IT.
Are you looking at any collaborations?
We are looking forward to partner with hospitals and clinics all around the country to reach users living in even remotest parts of the country. We are supported by IIT Delhi, MEITY, Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, and Autodesk Technology Impact Programme.
Are you planning to raise funds?
We are looking to raise funds to support our development, clinical trials, marketing and market launch.
What is the cost of the products? What is the revenue target for the next year?
We are still at pre-revenue stage and will soon launch our products in the market.
What is the market size for bionic devices?
The present global market of upper limb prosthetics is estimated to be around $1 billion with a growth factor of 5 per cent. The developing countries like India are registering highest growth in prosthetics market. The major growth factors include an increase in the number of accidents, injuries, diseases such as diabetes and osteoporosis, increasing health infrastructure and favourable government policies.
There are about five million people in India living with a limb disability. This includes upper-limb amputees having unilateral/bilateral amputations due to accidental, pathological, or congenital causes. Out of this population, around 71 per cent amputees live in rural areas. They have a literacy rate of 55 per cent and employment rate of 36 per cent.
Around 50 per cent amputees are dependent on others for their daily tasks. This implies that the social and financial condition of amputees is below satisfactory levels. Inaccessibility of an effective bionic prosthesis device further worsens the problem.
According to a survey conducted by the project team, only 35 percent of amputees use a prosthetic device while only five per cent have access to a bionic hand. Most prosthetic users are unsatisfied with their present devices and need them to be lightweight, comfortable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing.
How can patients contact you?
People in need can contact us through phone/WhatsApp (+91-8950689899), email us on [email protected] or they can visit our website www.exobot.in.
(This is the eleventh article of WTC Shamshabad- BioAsia 2023 Series, a collaborative effort of World Trade Center - Shamshabad and BioAsia, Asia’s largest life-sciences and healthcare forum, to highlight the achievements and accelerate growth in the Life Sciences industry)