Bionic prosthetics developer Aether Biomedical raises $5.8M

Steven Loeb · November 13, 2023 · Short URL:

The company's first product is the Zeus hand, a multi-articulating bionic hand with 12 grip patterns

Bionic prosthetics are different from traditional prosthetics due to the integration of myoelectric technologies: while traditional prosthetics offer basic functionalities, bionic limbs leverage advanced features such as myoelectric sensors and neural interfaces to replicate natural movements.

"Unlike their static counterparts, bionic prosthetics provide users with intuitive control mechanisms, interpreting signals from muscles or nerves for precise and coordinated actions. Bionic hands also allow for multiple grip movements and patterns," Dhruv Agrawal, CEO and co-founder of Aether Biomedical, a biotech company creating bionic prosthetics, told VatorNews. On Monday the company announced a $5.8 million Series A funding round led by J2 Ventures and Story Ventures, along with existing investor Chiratae Ventures.

Aether's initial product is the Zeus hand, a multi-articulating bionic hand, meaning that it has 12 customizable grip patterns. 

"The customization, adaptability, and integration with smart technologies makes our bionic hand a remarkable leap forward in providing a more natural and personalized experience for individuals with limb loss," said Agrawal.

The hand is controlled by the use of EMG, or other anatomical sensors, which will determine the grasp pattern, strength, and speed of the chosen grip. As such, the company has also developed new cloud-based technology, which it compares to modern smart home devices, to increase communication between provider and patient, shorten the time of maintenance by sending parts directly to providers, and improve grip strength by 30 to 40% over other market options.

The fitting of a prosthetic hand is a multi-step process designed to cater to individual needs. It begins with a thorough assessment, after which the Certified Prosthetist (CP) captures the unique contours of the residual limb through casting or digital scanning. The socket, component selection, and fitting sessions for adjustments are all required for the custom prosthesis. Occupational Therapist (OT) training sessions aid the individual in adapting to the new hand, with ongoing follow-ups to monitor and optimize performance. 

Aether Biomedical has been fitting the Zeus hand through orthotic and prosthetic care providers in the U.S., where its products are covered by major insurance systems. Additionally, Aether has partnered with multiple clinics in Europe, including Inovamed in Poland, with plans for continued expansion.

Since its inception in 2017, Aether has created and distributed hundreds of Zeus hands. So far this year, the Company has distributed over 250 Zeus hands, with plans for distributing products to war-ridden territories including Ukraine. 

The new funding roundm which brings Aether's total funding raised to $11.8 million, along with $2.5 million in non-dilutive grants, will allow Aether’s team to expand manufacturing options for the Zeus hand, and advance research and development, with the mission of creating healthcare technology and robotics that are based on human-centered design. Aether notes that it has committed 75% of its current workforce to research and development.

"We are looking to expand our production team and efforts along with adding more products to our pipeline. These products will include a smaller, faster, stronger version of our Zeus hand as well as a advanced control system with ML to improve control of prosthetic devices,"  said Agrawal.

"We will also invest in the software platform to support the end to end patient journey through digitized training, usage monitoring and goal setting and tracking."

The ultimate goal for Aether is to fit as many people as possible with its bionic hand because the company strongly believes that this hand and technology can improve patients' lives. It also plans to build a portfolio of upper limb prosthetic devices that can get it as close to the operation of a natural human hand as possible. 

"We are an impassioned and charismatic team dedicated to democratizing bionic technology for everyone. There is no other bionic hand company or technology like ours available on the market. Our software removes geographic limitations to upper limb amputee care," Agrawal said. 

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