Hy5 co-founder Christian Fredrik Stray
Hy5 Prosthetics is a Norwegian startup dedicated to providing cost effective, accessible and high quality 3D printed myoelectric prosthetics to amputees in need. Having recently received 14 million Norwegian Kroner (roughly 1.5 million euro) through Eureka’s Eurostars program and additional invesments, Hy5 is now nearly ready to bring their 3D printed prosthetic to the market.
Existing advanced movement prosthetics (AMPs) can cost tens of thousands of dollars, while less expensive options can be prohibitively heavy or slow. Yet by utilizing light and robust 3D printed titanium and micro hydraulics, Hy5 has been able to develop an affordable, state-of-the-art myoelectric AMP that is ultra-lightweight, fast and responsive in terms of its movement and gripping capabilities.
Hy5 was founded in 2015 by entrepreneur Christian Fredrik Stray, Dutch engineer Jos Poirters, and two additional investors who saw “enormous growth in need for more and better healthcare,” and for affordable yet functional prosthetics in particular. “We believe all people, across all geographic, demographic and socioeconomic areas should have the right to the highest possible quality of life, including full mobility,” said the founders.
“Advanced movement prosthetics are extremely expensive, 250,000-300,000 NOK in Norway (roughly €26,000-31,000), therefore 90% of the market uses a hook or pincher,” said the company. “So, we’ve created a cost effective AMP.”
The company’s aim is to develop a 3D printed product that costs less than the healthcare limit in the countries involved, ensuring that healthcare providers will be able to cover the cost. In Norway, for example, Stray expects the price to be below 100,000 NOK (€10,000).
Though still costly, these advanced movement prosthetics utilize powerful myoelectric robotics technology, which means the prosthetic is actually controlled by the electrical signals generated naturally in the wearer’s own muscles. These prosthetics are some of the most advanced and responsive that exist. Co-Founder Poirters began working in robotics over 10 years ago, and has now dedicated his passion and skill towards developing robotic hands for human use.
“Our patented design offers the best in function and price in the market today. The unique combination of 3D printed polymer, 3D printed titanium and micro hydraulics allows us to produce our Advanced Movement Prosthesis at a fraction of the cost as our competitors. Coupling this with an industry standard connector, the Hy5 hand prosthetic should be an option for all amputees.”
In order to help bring this high-tech 3D printed medical product to market, Hy5 has been seeking much-needed funding, and recently managed to secure roughly €1 million from the European research program Eurostars, a collaborative project between the EU and research network Eureka, which supports small-to-medium sized companies and their research projects. Roughly half of the received funding comes from the Research Council of Norway, a participant in the Eurostar fund. Hy5’s existing investors have also agreed to match this with an additional 4 million NOK (roughly €422,000), bringing their total investment value up to nearly €1.5 million.
Thanks to this boost in funding, Hy5 has said that their 3D printed prosthetics are ready for testing. Over the next few months, the product will receive its CE marking, at which point it will be cleared for the commercial market. Alongside Oslo University Med Tech, and Sintef, 3D printing company Materialise is listed among Hy5’s partners.
We have seen several advances in 3D printed prosthetics that have helped to make functional, custom-fit artificial limbs available to users across geographic and socioeconomic lines. However, the gap between the cost of Advanced Movement Prosthetics and those who can actually afford them is still much too high. Hy5’s cost-effective, myoelectric 3D printed prosthetics is a promising and important step towards breaking that barrier, providing full mobility and a higher quality of life to more people in need.