Fourier Intelligence to Deepen Partnership with ETH Zürich in Rehab Robotics, Exoskeleton Standards
Shanghai robotics startup to cement ties with leading Swiss institute in quest to commercialise lab research on affordable exoskeleton
Shanghai, September 16, 2019 – Shanghai Fourier Intelligence, a leading producer of rehabilitation robotics, has drafted a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with topnotch Swiss engineering and technology university ETH Zürich to advance joint research and development of the next-generation wearable exoskeleton.
Covering areas from gait training of Fourier's X-series exoskeleton to the upgrading of its M-series robotics targeting upper limb recovery, the latest agreement will consolidate Fourier's long-time links with Sensory Motor System Lab at ETH Zürich, one of the top five polytechnic universities in Europe.
Zen Koh, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Fourier Intelligence, said the two sides will carry out research based on the open-source X1 exoskeleton platform built by Fourier. Besides, they will also conduct technology transfer once lab results prove commercially applicable.
Tracing the tie-up to personal friendships between Fourier's executives and Professor Robert Riener, chair of the Sensory-Motor System Lab, Koh noted that "Professor Riener acknowledges Fourier's technological advantage and its vision of an open platform for all developers."
Fourier debuted its Exoskeleton & Robotics Open Platform System (EXOPS) at the beginning of this year, branding it as an Android-like platform which robotics and exoskeleton developers can utilise for subsequent development.
"EXOPS can spare them the time and money spent on building a gadget from the ground up," said Koh. "Thus, it has the potential of driving overall industrial growth as more developers are encouraged to access this open platform."
Details of the proposed MoU have yet to be disclosed, pending its official announcement at a key industrial summit next January. It has come on the heels of a handful of similar agreements, signalling the 4-year-old Shanghai startup's ambitions to pool global resources and foster development of the industry.
As one of China's earliest startups in the field of smart rehabilitation, Fourier Intelligence has joined hands with world-class institutions and hospitals such as Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, University of Melbourne, Imperial College London, MIT, Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai and UiTM, Malaysia's largest public hospital in areas including promotion of new concepts such as robotic group therapy.
Robotic group therapy refers to the treatment of multiple patients involving more than one robot. As robots guide stroke patients and other victims of mobility impairment through a series of highly repetitive rehabilitation tasks, doctors and therapists can supervise the process with the press of a few buttons on their laptops or tablets.
This new therapeutic practice has been put to work at UiTM and a few other leading clinics. As the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technologies are increasingly aligned with Fourier's existing product line, the company is setting sights on creating a so-called "intelligent rehab hub," in which data sharing among robots can enhance the efficiency of rehabilitation services.
Amid the growing demographic challenge confronting China, the shortfall between experienced therapists and patients seeking quality rehabilitation services will only be plugged by companies like Fourier, which are trying to make more mass-market, easy-to-use products comparable to smartphones, said Koh.
He believes that a significant hurdle for rehabilitation robots to become mainstream is the lack of standards acceptable to most institutions and hospitals. Fourier's attempt to formulate global standards with its EXOPS system is a move in that direction. "This is not easy, but if schools and professors like Robert Riener can join us in this endeavour, we will have much bigger odds of success (in doing so)," said Koh.
About Fourier Intelligence
Fourier Intelligence is an innovative global technology company focusing on developing, manufacturing and marketing of rehabilitation robotics and exoskeleton. The company is committed to making life easier for overworked therapists by cutting their workload since much of their treatment is person to person. Fourier's ultimate goal is to enhance the efficiency of therapy for stroke victims and other patients and help to fill the shortfall of qualified therapists in China and beyond.
ETH Zürich Sensory-Motor System Lab
The research of the Sensory-Motor Systems Lab focuses on the study of human sensory-motor control, the design of novel mechatronic machines, and the investigation and optimisation of human-machine interaction. Main application areas are the fields of rehabilitation and sports.
For investor and media inquiries, please contact:
Mr Zen Koh (Deputy CEO / Chief Strategy Officer)
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Robert Riener
ETH Zürich Sensory-Motor Systems Lab
Phone: +41 44 632 66 79