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Robotics Veteran Raises Venture Capital to Build Exoskeleton


Alistair Blair for Bloomberg Technology: The word "robot" conjures images of bulky, metal humanoid objects moving awkwardly. Robotics veteran Rich Mahoney is trying to change that perception by creating a robotic exoskeleton people can wear.

After more than seven years running a robotics group at Silicon Valley research institution SRI International, Mahoney left about a year ago to form a startup called Superflex. On Tuesday, the company said it raised $9.6 million from investors including 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 to get up from a chair or stand for longer. The device has thin actuators built in that use battery power to contract at the same time as people's real muscles. Cont'd…