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Israeli startup, Taiwan firm to make ‘smart chair’ for people with disabilities

ReSymmetry and Taiwanese manufacturing firm Karma Medical Devices plan to produce a robotic seating system that uses AI to match chair’s seating position to its user

Richard Hsu, Marketing VP, Karma Medical Devices, left to right; Ken Chen, Product Trainer, Karma Medical Devices; Kenny Chen, CEO, Karma Medical Devices; Efrat Shenhod-Malihi, Founder & CEO, ReSymmetry; Eitan Yanuv, Business Development, ReSymmetry;
Jill Ho, Director, Innovation to Industry (i2i) (Courtesy)
Richard Hsu, Marketing VP, Karma Medical Devices, left to right; Ken Chen, Product Trainer, Karma Medical Devices; Kenny Chen, CEO, Karma Medical Devices; Efrat Shenhod-Malihi, Founder & CEO, ReSymmetry; Eitan Yanuv, Business Development, ReSymmetry; Jill Ho, Director, Innovation to Industry (i2i) (Courtesy)

Israeli startup ReSymmetry and Taiwanese manufacturing firm Karma Medical Devices said they were teaming up and investing $2 million in a joint venture to develop and manufacture a smart seating system for motorized wheelchairs and rehabilitative chairs.

The two companies will collaborate on the production and development of a smart robotic seating system that autonomously customizes a seating position for each user. The system will be integrated into multiple rehabilitation products, giving people with disabilities the opportunity to stay mobile while maintaining a healthy posture when seated, the companies said in a statement.

ReSymmetry develops AI-based technology that recognizes and analyzes sitting postures using data collected in real time from sensors embedded in the various components of the system, which comes up with a customized program and automatically corrects posture to reduce potential health hazards caused by prolonged sitting.

The company’s products are designed for children and adults, and are integrated within wheelchairs, office chairs and car and plane seats.

The agreement between the two companies will be based on ReSymmetry’s technology and the manufacturing capabilities of Karma, which is a leading manufacturer of assistive devices and is active in six global markets.

There are two phases in the agreement: the development and manufacture of a smart seating system followed by the setting up of a joint venture in Taiwan.

Signed in Taiwan, the agreement was a result of the IP² LaunchPad innovation program, set up by Taiwan’s largest innovation company, Innovation to Industry (i2i), in June to accelerate the entry of Israeli companies into Far Eastern markets and, specifically, Taiwan’s ecosystem.

The program recruits Israeli startups in advanced stages specializing in digital transformation in the fields of health, high-tech and renewable energy based on big data, AI, IoT, 5G and cybersecurity.

“This agreement is just one example of the capability of Taiwan, a world leader in hardware, to provide Israeli startups with the opportunity to infiltrate global markets. Taiwan is a Scale-Up Nation, and in recent decades it has established its global operations, among them sales channels and a business network, that can help startups grow fast,” said Rani Shifron, manager of IP² LaunchPad’s activity in Israel, in a statement.

The IP2 LaunchPad program is run by i2i and based at the Startup Terrace Innovation Center, which is supported by the Small and Medium Enterprises Administration (SMEA), Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) in Taiwan.

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