| |

Ottobock Acquires suitX to Advance Exoskeleton Market

OttobockSuitX 400x275

November 3, 2021

Ottobock, which develops prosthetics, orthotics and exoskeletons, has announced the acquisition of 100% of the shares of suitX, a U.S.-based company that spun out of the Robotics and Human Engineering Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, and was developing occupational and medical exoskeletons. The combination of the companies will look to advance the exoskeleton market to foster the worldwide adoption of exoskeletons, the companies said in a statement.

The founder and former CEO of suitX, Homayoon Kazerooni (also a professor of mechanical engineering at UC-Berkeley), will remain with the company in the role of Chief Scientist. The suitX company will become part of Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons (formerly Ottobock Industrials), its division for the development of occupational exoskeletons. The management of Ottobock’s global Bionic Exoskeletons business, which runs under the brand name Paexo, will continue to be handled from Duderstadt, Germany.

“Together with suitX, Ottobock’s exoskeletons business Paexo will become a world leading provider of exoskeletons in production, logistics, servicing, and the trade sector,” said Philipp Schulte-Noelle, the CEO of Ottobock. “We will jointly create significant socio-economic benefits by improving occupational health for employees while reducing sickness absence and treatment costs for companies and healthcare systems. This transaction increases our footprint and network in North America and comes at the perfect time as we expect the market for occupational exoskeleton solutions to grow dynamically in the coming years.”

The portfolios from both companies offer exoskeletons that relieve strain on the body during overhead worker and jobs involving lifting. The Paexo product range includes solutions to support the wrist, thumb, and neck, while suitX develops and manufactures occupational, healthcare and recreational exoskeleton systems. The backX, legX and shoulderX modules aim to reduce the risk of injuries among workers, and can be worn individually or in combinations suitable for various industrial work settings. In the healthcare space, the Phoenix exoskeleton allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to be upright and mobile. The suitX team is also developing a new line of products to support wearers during recreational activities.

“I am thrilled about our new chapter of research and innovation with Ottobock,” said Kazerooni. “What truly resonates with me is that Ottobock stands for quality of life. Together with Ottobock, we will provide lasting changes to communities worldwide with our state-of-the-art innovation in exoskeleton technologies. Our research activities on robotic exoskeletons have received both public and private funding. Giving back to the world with our research and innovation is not only our duty, but also an honor. I feel fortunate that I am now put in a position to deliver our life-enhancing medical and industrial exoskeleton products globally. This step is a success not only for suitX, but also for the University of California, Berkeley, where entrepreneurial endeavors are fostered to their greatest extent for the good of humans worldwide.”


The Paexo Back exoskeleton helps reduce the strain on the back when liefting heavy objects, such as in a factory or distribution center.

Ottobock said the market for exoskeletons in the professional environment is expected to multiply to several hundred millions of dollars by 2025. Work-related injuries, especially musculoskeletal disorders (MSD), are the top cause for work absence, resulting in an estimated annual cost of at least $45 billion in the U.S. alone. The company said investing into exoskeletons pays off within the first 12 months after implementation, with a positive ROI after two years. The use of exoskeletons in industrial work and logistics can help increase productivity, make manual work more attractive and safe, counteracting the increasing shortage of skilled workers in these industries, Ottobock added.

“Our exoskeletons offer a huge relief of physical burdens for the workforces in many industrial and logistic workplaces,” said Soenke Roessing, head of Ottobock Bionic Exoskeletons. “We expect that recent technological advancements in weight, ergonomic fit and functionalities, paired with increasing affordability will fuel adoption rates in the industry. We believe that major industrial and retail companies will lead this development and pave the way for their industries.”

For more information on Ottobock, visit its website here. Details on the Paexo brand are available here. For information about suitX, visit its website here.

Robotics World News

  • Vitestro Raises €12M for Autonomous Blood Drawing Device

    Vitestro Raises €12M for Autonomous Blood Drawing Device

    Netherlands-based Vitestro, which develops an autonomous blood drawing device, has announced completing a €12 million ($12.9 million) Series A financing round, led by California-based Sonder Capital, along with existing and new private investors. The company said proceeds from the funding round will be used to accelerate product development, prepare EU market authorization, and initiate production…. Read More…

  • Machina Labs Earns U.S. Air Force Contract for Robotic Composites Manufacturing

    Machina Labs Earns U.S. Air Force Contract for Robotic Composites Manufacturing

    Machina Labs has announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) recently awarded the company with $1.6 million to advance and accelerate the development of its robotic technology for manufacturing of metal tooling for high-rate production of composites. Higher vehicle production rates in comparison to current rates is anticipated as experts project that the airline industry… Read More…

Products for Robots & Cobots

  • Wisson Robotics Launches Pliable Robot Manipulators

    Wisson Robotics Launches Pliable Robot Manipulators

    China-based Wisson Robotics has announced the launch of the Nimbo pliable robotic manipulator series, based on its Pliabot technology that combines compliance, dexterity, a light weight and safety features to provide solutions to robots across several applications. Many innovations include Pliabot-compliant muscles as motion generation units and compact high-speed pneumatic controllers, in contrast to electric… Read More…

  • Nimble Launches Robotic 3PL Service to Enable 2-Day or Less Delivery

    Nimble Launches Robotic 3PL Service to Enable 2-Day or Less Delivery

    Nimble, an autonomous logistics and AI robotics company, has announced it raised $65 million in Series B financing, with the goal of building a nationwide network of next-generation autonomous 3PL fulfillment centers. The funding round was led by Cedar Pine, with participation from existing investors DNS Capital, GRS Ventures, and Breyer Capital. The company has… Read More…