The following article is a “Q&A interview” conducted by Joanne Pransky of Industrial Robot Journal as a method to impart the combined technological, business and personal experience of a prominent industry engineer-turned successful innovator and entrepreneur regarding the development of his inventions and the challenges he faced. This paper aims to discuss these issues.
The interviewee is Dr Amit Goffer, Chief Technology Officer and President at UPnRIDE Robotics Ltd., a startup that makes a wheeled robotic device for almost anyone who is unable to physically stand or walk. He served as Chief Executive Officer (until 2012) and President and Chief Technical Officer of ReWalk Robotics, a company he founded in 2001 (previously called Argo Medical Technologies Ltd). Prior to Argo/ReWalk, Dr Goffer served as the Founder at Odin Medical Technologies Ltd. (later acquired by Medtronic), President and Chief Executive Officer. As an accomplished inventor and serial entrepreneur of medical devices, Goffer describes how his education in school and in running his companies combined with his life experiences led to his breakthroughs.
Dr Amit Goffer completed BSc from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, MSc from Tel-Aviv University, Israel, and PhD from Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, all in electrical and computer engineering. After working for Elscint, a medical imaging company, Goffer started Odin Medical to provide real-time magnetic resonance imaging images for brain surgery. After a tragic accident confined him to a wheelchair, Goffer created ReWalk, a robotic exoskeleton that enables people with lower limb disabilities to stand, walk, ascend/descend stairs and more. He recently founded his latest company, UPnRIDE.
Dr Amit Goffer is highly regarded as a pioneer of the emerging exoskeleton industry. His invention and development of the ReWalk Robotics wearable exoskeleton has enabled so far hundreds of wheelchair users to walk again, and another estimated 500,000 could benefit from it. Despite Goffer not being able to use the ReWalk himself, as he is a quadriplegic, his greatest passion is to improve the disabled’s self-esteem and quality of life. ReWalk was the first commercially available exoskeleton in the USA. It was named “best invention” by Popular Science and Time magazines. ReWalk Robotics went public in 2014. In 2015, the US Veteran’s Administration announced they would provide ReWalks for all eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries. Goffer recently devised UPnRIDE as a new product, allowing millions of wheelchair users worldwide, including himself, full mobility in the standing position in almost any urban environment.
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