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Interview with Borislav „Bobby“ Marinov (ExoskeletonReport.com): People behind the Exoskeleton Industry

In this series of short interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the great companies in the exoskeleton world. If you want to successfully implement an industrial exoskeleton in your business, you have to pay attention to two points:

1. Choosing the right solution, respectively a solution that is the right fit to the requirements from all 75+ industrial solutions and not the solution that is advertised with the biggest marketing budget.

2. The properly trained and accompanied implementation in the company, so that the solutions are also sustainably intrinsically motivated.

Which solution is the right one is therefore only decided on the basis of technical details, but also which company is trusted to do this. For trust someone, you have to learn a little bit more about the people behind. This is the case because we are doing this interviews.

In these interviews, we introduce you to the people behind the companies, patents and inventions to get to know them better and to understand the drive behind the vision even better.

In this episode we talk to Bobby. Talking to Bobby is a lesson for us. A few weeks ago, we exchanged ideas via video course, philosophized about the industry and talked about business models. ExoskeletonReport has always been a role model for us, so we were all the more pleased when Bobby agreed.

Thank you for the inverview, Bobby!

Borislav Bobby Marinov Contact Data
Interview with Borislav "Bobby" Marinov (ExoskeletonReport.com): People behind the Exoskeleton Industry 2

Interview:

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Borislav “Bobby” Marinov and I the founder of the Exoskeleton Report website. I am also a founder member of the ASTM International Exoskeleton Center of Excellence, and a member of Committee F48 on Exoskeletons and Exosuits since its beginning.

How would you describe exoskeletons to a child?

We are surrounded by tools and gadgets that help our minds. We live in a connected world of cell phones, constant connectivity, exercise trackers, virtual and augmented reality. While we have technology that expands the mind, we have little in the way of expanding the capabilities of the body. Wheelchairs, bicycles, are thousands of years old, while power tools and automation are decades old. Exoskeletons are a new type of equipment that physically empowers the human body.

When and how was your first contact with exoskeletons?

I first saw exoskeleton technology in the late 90s and then again in the early 2000s. At that time full-body powered exoskeletons were all the rage, partially inspired by science-fiction books and movies.

What was the decisive moment that prompted you to start a blog about exoskeletons?

Towards 2014 there was finally enough information about exoskeleton technology being presented in the public domain to fill a website. It quickly became apparent to me that the technology was being developed by independent silos. Furthermore, I live in Silicon Valley which is a tech and investment hot spot, if not the hot spot in the world. However, I could clearly see that there was no interest or excitement around practical, real-world exoskeletons. I therefore figured that I could be more impactful by trying to separate the fantasy from reality of wearable robotics and create a concise information hub that can inspire entire generations of new exoskeleton developers, investors, evaluators, and user.

How will the market change in 5 and 10 years?

Success stories of exoskeleton adoption will continue to increase and be circulate. This anecdotal evidence will be supplemented by long term field studies. It is very likely that the responsibility of evaluating, implementing and maintaining exoskeleton devices will shift from the producers to the specialized integrators. A new type of hybrid exoskeletons that derive the majority of their actuation force form elastic elements that can be altered or turned on/off by motors will become popular. Automation will continue to advance, but it will be incapable or cost prohibitive to implement everywhere, leaving an open field for occupational exoskeleton technology to help and assist reduce fatigue and injury rates. Medical exoskeletons, both for physical rehabilitation and functional compensation and assistance will continue to proliferate. Finally, sports and fitness assistive and resistive devices may find a foothold.

What changes have you noticed in the market in the last 2 years?

The market is bouncing back after the Covid-19 pandemic limited access to client sites. Comfort and implementation support bubbled to the top as primary challenges for the continual use of exoskeletons. Currently, exoskeleton companies are integrating big data and AI technology in both the controls and the data the devices collect.

What tech trends (other than AI) do you currently see in Silicon Valley?

Silicon Valley appears obsessed with software, computer vision and automation.

If you had to start a new exoskeleton company, what three pieces of advice would you give yourself?

I would hesitate to start a brand new company rather than working on the foundation of something that has already been built. Everyone wants to be a head chef, but there is nothing wrong with being a sous-chef. I would advise anyone starting a new exo company to do their research and see if there are others who may already be moving in the same direction and attempt to join forces.

What was your best moment at Exoskeleton Report so far?

The best moments are getting feedback how my efforts have helped someone propel themselves in the world exo technology.

Is there a particular project or exoskeleton innovation that you are particularly excited about in the near future?

In December, the ASTM International Exo Technology Center of Excellence released the Global Survey of Healthcare Professionals Using Medical Exoskeletons. This was a project in which I got to directly participate and contribute towards understands the gaps and needs in medical exoskeleton technology. The goal was to gather input from medical exo users in a clinical setting with the intent of informing future standards and education and outreach efforts. You can access the report for free at https://www.etcoe.org/resources.

Tell us something about yourself that you haven’t revealed elsewhere that surprises us?

I get very emotional whenever I see money and efforts  being redirected towards efforts that don’t make the world a better place to live in.

What did you want to be as a child?

Train machinist.

If exoskeletons didn’t exist, what would you do?

I would work with CAD, digital twins, augmented reality and workplace visualization.

Who was your role model as a child?

Batman

What would you do if you were given a free sixty-second commercial during a Super Bowl game?

We have had a digital revolution. Now it is time for the physical revolution! Exoskeleton technology can redefine what risks are acceptable in the workplace. Why shouldn’t workers be able to retire injury-free and enjoy their golden years!? We can change how we deal with disability. We can empower senior citizens to maintain independent living for years to come.


About ExoskeletonReport.com:

The Exoskeleton Report is an independent news and information website focused exclusively on exoskeleton technology. We strive to provide objective information on exoskeletons, exosuits, and wearable robotics that is free of science fiction or marketing hyperbole.

Location:

ExoskeletonReport.com

3405 Montgomery Dr

Santa Clara

California 95054

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Tom Illauer

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