We live in exciting times, and we may look forward to a future in which human-robotic interfaces become more accessible, allowing people to enjoy healthier, higher-quality lives.
What do you think the human race’s future holds? Science fiction frequently depicts a highly evolved and technologically advanced humanity.
Humans of the future are expected to be able to recover quickly from catastrophic injuries thanks to human-robotic interfaces, prosthetic body components, and innovative medicine.
Esper Bionics is the company that creates human improvement technology, such as a self-learning robotic prosthesis for patients with upper-limb abnormalities. That can help us move forward in the future.
In an interview with Insights Care, Dima Gazda, the CEO and Founder of Esper Bionics, and his team share their company’s journey, their role in the development of robotic prosthesis, and the future aspects of the medical sector.
Please brief our audience about Esper Bionics, its USPs, and how it is positioned as a reliable name in the healthcare sector?
Esper Bionics is a pioneer engineering company that builds human enhancement devices, including a self-learning robotic prosthesis for people with upper limb differences.
Our technological start-up was founded in 2019 by Dima Gazda, a medical doctor, electronic engineer, and serial entrepreneur, with a mission to create technologies that can eliminate diseases, give humans extra abilities, and ultimately fulfil and prolong the lives of billions of people around the globe.
Headquartered in New York, the US, we have offices in Germany and Ukraine. We are an experienced team of twenty with a rare combination of skills and expertise in a variety of areas. These include engineering, medicine, manufacturing, electronics, software, data science, and tech entrepreneurship, among others.
In the summer of 2021, one of our first products — the bionic prosthesis Esper Hand — got registered with FDA. That same year, Esper Bionics became a winner at the 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup and was named a top world techpreneur. Earlier, we secured support from EIT Health, a network of best-in-class health innovators backed by the EU, the Alchemist Accelerator, a US venture-backed accelerator ranked the top accelerator in 2016 by CB Insights SMRK, a venture fund behind Allset and Ajax.
Please shed some light on your offerings and how they impact the healthcare industry and your clients.
Our first products are Esper Hand, a bionic hand prosthesis, Esper Control, a wearable brain-computer interface (BCI), and Esper Platform, a cloud-based software solution. At this stage of development, they are aimed to improve the lives of people with upper limb differences drastically.
Unlike most hand prostheses that are static or slightly adjustable, Esper Hand has five movable fingers, moves naturally, and changes grips automatically. It uses data about the user’s brain impulses and muscle activity to perform everyday tasks — like opening a bottle, picking up individual grapes, scrolling on the phone, driving a car, or using construction tools — with almost human-like dexterity.
It is worth saying that Esper’s solution detects brain impulses and muscle activity of the user up to ten times better than other hands on the market.
Esper Hand’s performance improves gradually. Through its application for smartphones and desktops, the hand is connected to Esper Platform. The latter is a cloud-based solution aimed to enhance and individualize hand controllability over time. The platform gathers data about all the movements the hand performs to recognize situations and suggest the right grip faster next time.
The more wearers use the hand, the better it gets. Weighing 380 g, Esper Hand is among the lightest on the market yet. It is lighter than a human hand. Half metal, half plastic, it comes in four sizes and five colors and has almost three hundred proprietary components. The hand’s parts, e.g., fingers — are modular and can be easily replaced within minutes.
Some of our users see Esper Hand as a combination of a useful gadget and a fashion accessory thanks to its beautiful design. The hand’s design is inspired by the beauty of the human body and the lightness and durability of aviation technology. We are revolutionizing not only the lives of particular users but healthcare itself.
We are currently focusing our efforts on upgrading the prosthetics industry, which is very low-tech. These hand prostheses should be connected to one or two software platforms, be able to collect data about user behavior and improve over time.
We see that in the future, these technologies will expand to other fields and assistive devices — exoskeletons and sensors, etc. — and create the necessary infrastructure for the introduction of electronic implants. We believe that electronic implants will bring the biggest positive change to the world.
What are the core values upon which Esper Bionics is built? What is the vision and mission of your organization?
Our ultimate goal at Esper Bionics is to unleash the hidden abilities of humans, eliminate diseases, and prolong lives with the help of electronic implants. As today’s technology stack is still insufficient to use electronic implants effectively, we aim to upgrade the prosthetics industry first since it has the potential to create the necessary tech stack.
This brings us to our current goal, which is to drastically improve the lives of ten million people with an arm amputation worldwide with the help of Esper Hand.
Please brief us about Dima Gazda’s journey in the industry and how she has contributed to Esper Bionics’s success.
Esper Bionics’ CEO and Founder, Dima Gazda, is a medical doctor, an embedded engineer, and a serial entrepreneur. He began his journey in the multi-billion-dollar healthcare industry as a medical student in 2003. Since then, he also got electronic engineering education and built four successful companies.
Under his leadership, Esper Bionics has transformed from a five-person technological startup in 2019 into a twenty-person pioneer engineering company backed by the US and EU venture funds in 2022.
What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who aspire to venture into the healthcare space?
My advice would be to come to the market as soon as possible. Do not wait. Usually, it is possible to make the first step like talking cooperation with clinics or individual physicians before getting a certification. Also, try to start without attracting third-party investment.
My second advice would be to partner as soon as possible with teams who have done it before or who are seniors in what they do.
My third advice would be to be ready to iterate fast if you see that the market does not like what you do or does not need what you do.
My fourth advice would be, “Don’t be afraid.” Just do it. Preparation and hesitation usually take more time than action. When your business becomes sustainable or closer to being sustainable, you will have more time to think and plan. But to start, do it fast.
“Unlike my previous prosthesis, Esper Hand is fully functional. It makes me feel independent and confident. With it, I can do whatever I want with no assistance whatsoever.”
“The biggest advantage for me is the ability to have two functioning hands — instead of only one right hand again. Also, I love the aesthetic of the hand. It is so beautiful! With Esper Hand, I feel almost half-human, half-robot — just like Tony Stark, who turned his disability into a superpower. I also have the ability to choose a color to make sure the hand goes well with clothes. Overall, Esper Hand is stylish and beautiful, easy to use, and, most importantly, functional.
The first life-changing quality of Esper Hand is that it gave me back my confidence and the ability to do many things on my own without asking anyone for help. Another life-changing quality was a chance for me to do interviews to highlight the abilities of the hand. It was so exciting!”
Esper Bionics becomes the winner at the international engineering startup competition, the Vernadsky Challenge
Anna Belevantseva, COO, and co-founder at Esper Bionics, became a winner of the Female Leadership Program, backed by CRDF Global.
Esper Bionics becomes a winner at the 13th Healthcare Innovation World Cup and is named a top world techpreneur
Esper Hand is showcased at CES 2022