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EIB invests EUR 15 million in high-tech occupational safety for exoskeleton manufacturer German Bionic's R&D activities

  • By combining artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, the European flagship project creates safe and sustainable work environments .
  • The advanced power suit from the technology leader helps logistics and care workers with lifting and carrying tasks.
  • The EIB loan is backed by the European Union's new InvestEU program.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is investing EUR 15 million in the further development of AI-based human-machine systems developed and manufactured by Augsburg-based technology company German Bionic. Its intelligent power suits support logistics and care workers in physically demanding tasks, especially when lifting and carrying heavy loads.

The EIB's Venture Debt loan will be used for German Bionic's research and development. A venture debt loan is financing that meets the needs of fast-growing innovative companies. The return on investment depends largely on the success of the company. Venture debt loans complement existing venture capital financing without diluting the founders' stakes. The agreement is supported by InvestEU, which provides an EU budget guarantee to implementing partners to increase their risk-bearing capacity, helping to mobilize public and private investment for EU policy priorities.

German Bionic is a leading provider of active, smart exoskeleton systems. The Cray X is the world's first AI-based and fully connected power suit for the workplace. It uses self-learning to assist lifting movements and prevent poor posture. The exoskeleton provides real-time ergonomics data during the workday to protect employee health, significantly reduce the risk of accidents, and thereby also improve workflows.

The latest version of the power suit provides up to 30 kg of lifting support and is also suitable for outdoor use. It was recently awarded Best of Innovation in the Wearable Technologies category at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2023. The robotics company plans to launch additional product innovations in early 2023.

"The EIB supports innovative and sustainable cutting-edge technology developed and manufactured in the European Union. The project will help consolidate Europe's leading position in the industrial exoskeleton market in terms of technological competitiveness and commercial opportunities, while maintaining and creating highly skilled jobs. We are pleased to support this European success story," said Ambroise Fayolle, EIB Vice-President responsible for activities in Germany.

EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni added: "InvestEU plays an important role across Europe in helping companies access the funding they need for advanced research and development. This agreement is an excellent example of how InvestEU channels funding to support research that will enable Europe to maintain its position as a world leader in developing innovative products with positive practical applications."

"Our smart power suits protect workers who perform heavy physical labor to complete critical tasks every day from exhaustion and accidents. They provide mechanical support for lifting and carrying and alert users with an intelligent assistance system when they are lifting incorrectly or should take a break. This leads to less absenteeism due to exhaustion or illness, happier employees and better results. We see this as positive for society and hope to build on this even further with our technology," says Armin G. Schmidt, CEO and co-founder of German Bionic.

Background information

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's long-term financing institution and is owned by its member states. It provides long-term finance for sound investment to contribute to EU policy objectives. The EIB's main priorities are climate and environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized enterprises, infrastructure and cohesion. It works closely with other EU institutions to foster European integration, develop the European Union and promote EU policy objectives in more than 140 countries worldwide.

The InvestEUThe program provides long-term funding to the European Union by leveraging significant private and public resources to support a sustainable economy. It helps generate additional investment in line with EU policy priorities such as the European Green Deal, the digital transformation and support for small and medium-sized enterprises. InvestEU brings together all EU financial instruments under one umbrella and makes financing investment projects in Europe simpler, more efficient and more flexible. The program consists of three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Platform and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented by financial partners who invest in projects with the help of the EU budget guarantee of EUR 26.2 billion. This guarantee increases their risk-bearing capacity and thus mobilizes at least EUR 372 billion in additional investments.

German Bionic is a German robotics company that develops and manufactures intelligent power suits. It has offices in Augsburg, Berlin, Boston and Tokyo. German Bionic's Cray X is the world's first networked exoskeleton for the workplace. It uses self-learning artificial intelligence to assist lifting movements and prevent poor posture, becoming an intelligent link between man and machine. The TÜV-certified device protects employees' health, significantly reduces the risk of accidents and thus improves work processes. In recognition of this innovative technology that puts people back at the center of Industry 4.0, German Bionic and the Cray X have received a number of awards, including Best of Innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023, Fast Company's Innovation by Design Award and the German Founders Award.

Source: InvestEU: EIB invests EUR 15 million in high-tech workplace safety for R&D activities of exoskeleton manufacturer German Bionic - German Bionic - German Bionic (20.12.2022)

Tom Illauer

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