Testing new designs for wearable assistive devices, such as prostheses, orthoses, and exoskeletons, can be time-consuming because the device often must be removed, modified, and then refitted whenever a design parameter is even slightly changed.
Humotech, a startup based in Pittsburgh and incubated at Carnegie Mellon University, has developed a programmable robotic system that emulates the physical characteristics of wearable assistive devices. The Caplex system, which began as a Ph.D. research project, enables researchers to systematically vary the behavior of a single device, giving the user the physical sensation of wearing a variety of devices while actually wearing just one.
Humotech developed the control system for Caplex in Simulink® and took advantage of the MathWorks startup program to help evolve the technology from its academic roots to a commercially viable product.
“Transitioning from academia to a startup private company is full of expensive surprises, and one of those is the cost of software tools,” says Josh Caputo, CEO and founder of Humotech. “We are funded entirely by sales of our product, so the support and special pricing we received from MathWorks has been instrumental to our success throughout our early stages.”