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The project is designed to increase commercialization of innovative wearable and medtech devices. (Credit: Harvard University)

Harvard and Boston University have been awarded a grant of $3 million from the State House to support the development of next-generation robotics and wearable technologies. Researchers aim to improve the lives of people with neuro-motor impairments and to help individuals achieve ambitious fitness goals, driving innovation in a new category of rehabilitation, diagnostic, and assistive devices that are more lightweight, affordable, and connected.

Led by Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the project involves a collaboration with Boston University College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College, as well as with industry partners that are poised to bring innovations to market. The first two industry partners are ReWalk Robotics, Inc. of Marlborough, which designs and develops powered solutions that provide gait training and mobility for lower limb disabilities; and Imago Rehab, of Arlington, MA, a startup founded by Harvard engineers in 2021 to improve recovery outcomes for stroke survivors through a combination of home-use wearable robotics and digital health.

The new award was made by the Innovation Institute at the MassTech Collaborative from the Commonwealth’s Collaborative Research and Development Matching Grant program that invests in critical research and development (R&D) infrastructure statewide.

Combined with existing resources, this grant will support a $6 million effort to equip Harvard facilities with the infrastructure necessary to develop and evaluate wearable product prototypes. With support from Harvard's Office of Technology Development and aligned industry partners, the initiative will help to push these prototypes into commercial products that can drive growth in the Commonwealth’s world-class robotics, digital health, and apparel sectors.