OEN NewsRedefining Mobility With Wearables


Ray Browning is driven to provide technology that can help people with mobility issues explore what is possible. The company he co-founded, wearable robotics maker Biomotum, provides innovative solutions designed to help people with predominantly neurologic conditions improve their ability to walk.

Built from ultra-lightweight carbon fiber components, Biomotum’s robotic exoskeleton system adapts to each user as it delivers finely-tuned ankle plantarflexor and dorsiflexor torque to the body. With high-tech materials and a functional approach to solving everyday mobility problems, Biomotum creates intuitive mobility systems that are highly effective and accessible to the end user.

Case in point: Browning traveled recently to Mexico City to meet with an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of people with cerebral palsy. He brought one of the wearables with him, and the team fitted the device to a teenager who normally relies on a walker to get around. 

“We put on the device, and he just took off,” Browning said. “He went upstairs, downstairs, up ramps, down ramps, into the elevator, out of the elevator, into different treatment areas—he walked all over the place. What that person now thinks is possible for them is different than what it was before they put it on, and that’s what I’m most excited about.”

The company stands out in the market due to its focus on people who find walking difficult, but not impossible; a lot of the work with exoskeletons today has been targeted at people who are unlikely to regain the ability to walk. Biomotum’s commitment to helping young people with chronic diseases like Cerebral Palsy is also unusual; innovation in the pediatric market typically lags behind the adult market, Browning said. The company is also hyperfocused on talking to children, parents, scientists, and academic researchers alike to incorporate feedback and make a wearable that’s going to be truly useful, he added. 

The company currently has about 15 devices being used in research labs around the world and is working toward getting clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the product’s use in rehabilitative clinics. 

“Our path is not atypical for medical device companies,” Browning said. “Our first customers have been academic researchers who are interested in using technology like this to understand whether it will work for Parkinson’s disease, peripheral artery disease, and other conditions. The next customer will be the physical therapist using it as an in-clinic rehabilitative tool, and we’re working on getting FDA clearance for that. And then the next generation will be those who use it at home.”

Biomotum has received a variety of grants, including several from the National Institutes of Health, and won OEN’s inaugural Angel Oregon Life & Biosciences (AOBIO) in 2022.

“What OEN is trying to foster is hard,” Browning said. “It’s hard to make new companies out of new technologies. We’ve benefited significantly from the support from OEN—capital, expertise in the community, and connections. I’m looking forward to the day when I can close the loop and give back.”


Produced by A.wordsmith for OEN

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