When Dr. Aadeel Akhtar was 7 years old, he met someone with a limb difference for the first time. She was his age, living in poverty in Pakistan, missing her right leg. At the time, he wondered how they could share the same ethnic heritage but have such vastly different qualities of life. As he grew older, he realized that this was due to a lack of resources. For that reason, he founded and serves as the CEO of PSYONIC, a company whose mission is to develop advanced prostheses that are affordable for everyone. PSYONIC’s first product is the Ability Hand–a prosthetic hand that moves all five fingers, is the fastest available, is impact resistant, and gives users a feeling of touch.

Dr. Akhtar received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience and M.S. in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2016. He received a B.S. in Biology in 2007 and M.S. in Computer Science in 2008 at Loyola University Chicago. His research is on motor control and sensory feedback for upper limb prostheses, and he has collaborations with the Bretl Research Group at Illinois, the Center for Bionic Medicine at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the John Rogers Research Group at Northwestern University, and the Range of Motion Project in Guatemala and Ecuador. In 2021, he was named as one of MIT Technology Review’s top 35 Innovators Under 35 and America’s Top 50 Disruptors in Newsweek.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/bjmQ1PtR36s?list=PLtluUSnvgbdF7MlqjX5-IVMCkFGTrEWlz

Audio Link: https://anchor.fm/minhaaj/episodes/Prosthetic-Hands-with-Aadeel-Akhtar-e1fid3v

Timestamps of the Conversation:

00:00 Intro

01:42 Multiarticulation of Prosthetic Hand, Finger Movements

03:10 Visiting Pakistan at 7 Years Old, Inspiration for Prosthetics

04:34 $75,000 vs $10,000 Hand, Cost Reduction & Accessibility

06:13 Sourcing Parts from China, Shenzen, Electronic Part Capital of the World

08:45 3D Printing of Hand and Distribution of locally vs imported Parts

11:00 Fixing Repair Problems for Imported Components from China, COVID 19

12:31 USB port, Bluetooth and Spiderman Web

16:56 Android/iOS App, AI&ML & Sensitivity Controller

18:50 From Research to Market, Tactile Feedback

24:15 Invasive Technology, Electrode Scarring & Partnerships

27:11 Cortical Implants & Future of BCIs for Humanity

31:39 Neuroscience Labs as Co-working Spaces

33:20 Guitar, Linkin Park & Mohawk

38:34 OpenAI and Rubic Cube vs Prosthetic Hand

49:16 Work in Ecuador & Inception of the Idea

52:39 3D Printing vs Manual Construction of Prosthetics – Robustness

01:04:31 Multimodel Neuroplasticity & Forced Interchangeability

01:10:06 Neuroscience of Parenting, Catch 22

01:14:00 Importance of Recognition & Thanking the Crew as a Leader

01:17:00 From $200 in account to Funding round and Medicare Approving Psyonic Hand

01:20:29 Going Global and Exploring New Markets

01:23:31 Infection Mitigation Design

01:29:06 Low Cost Competitors, KalArm by Makers Hive & Game Plan

01:36:33 Shoe Dog by Phil Knight and Power of Grit

01:40:40 Impact, Legacy & Fulfillment

Guest Social Media

Aadeel’s Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aadeelakh...

Perosnal Website: https://www.aadeelakhtar.com/

Newsweek Coverage: https://www.newsweek.com/2021/12/24/a...

MIT Innovators Coverage: https://www.technologyreview.com/inno...

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Minhaaj Rehman is CEO & Chief Data Scientist of Psyda Solutions, an AI-enabled academic and industrial research agency focused on psychographic profiling and value generation through machine learning and deep learning.


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