Fits Like a Glove!
Entrepreneurship as a career fits like a glove for Jane Wang, CEO of Roceso Technologies. She started her first business while studying at Nanyang Technological University, running an e-commerce business that imported female apparel. However, with a background in Mechatronics Engineering, she wanted to do something tech-related and more meaningful. After meeting Prof Raye Yeow and Dr Hong Kai Yap while doing her Master’s degree at NUS, Jane knew her next start-up would be in the medtech industry.
These three entrepreneurs co-founded Roceso Technologies in 2016, Singapore’s first and only soft robotics company. Roceso Technologies is developing soft robotic solutions to help patients suffering from limb motor impairments, assisting their rehabilitation process and improving quality of life. Roceso Technologies has successfully commercialised a hand rehabilitation device from the NUS Faculty of Engineering into the EsoGLOVE™.
The EsoGLOVE™ helps patients with hand impairments arising from neurological disorders or injuries. Unlike conventional hand rehabilitation robotic devices, which have rigid electromechanical motors that move digits through a single degree of freedom, the EsoGLOVE™ is made from elastomer and fabric. This makes it more comfortable, flexible and lighter, for more natural movement.
Patients undergoing rehabilitation need to perform repetitive hand exercises, such as holding a cup or picking up a pencil. Sensors in the EsoGLOVE™ detect the user’s intention to make a certain hand movement, and the glove guides the user’s fingers to accomplish the task. While Roceso Technologies is targeting rehabilitation centres, hospitals and nursing homes, since the device is light and portable, it is also ideal in a home setting.
The EsoGLOVE™ has been launched in Taiwan, Hong Kong, India and the U.S., and Roceso Technologies plans to reach other global markets in 2020. Although bringing their device to market is a major achievement, it has not all been smooth sailing. One of Roceso Technologies’ biggest hurdles was converting the lab prototype into a device that could be scaled up for manufacturing. It was also difficult finding the right manufacturing supplier, who had relevant expertise in engineering, design, software and fabrics.
“Being a global pioneer in the soft robotics area means charting new waters.
Because there are so many challenges, it is wonderful to receive support from various organisations. Incubation facilities, legal and book-keeping assistance, training support and a $15,000 Go-Global grant from NUS Enterprise helped us build connections, expand quickly and keep our burn rate low. We are also part of the JUMPSTART community,” explained Jane Wang.
And not one to rest on their laurels, Roceso Technologies is forging ahead. In addition to soft robotic devices, they are working on Brain Computer Interface, sensing and IoT, in order to improve intelligence, usability and portability of robots in the future.
“As more data is collected worldwide, we believe that significant advancements in machine learning and AI can be made to conduct more useful research, leading to better technology commercialisation in the area of highly intelligent rehabilitation devices and assistive robotics,” concluded Jane.
Roceso is currently incubated at the NUS Enterprise @Singapore Science Park facility.
To find out more about Roceso Technologies, visit www.roceso.com or their LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/7934109/
 A Joint NUS-NTU biomedical accelerator