The KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and Fourier Intelligence announces Global Partnership

Virtual MOU signing event between KITE and Fourier Intelligence (FI).

(Top row, from left): Mr Zen Koh (Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO), Dr Milos Popovic (Director of the KITE Research Institute), Prof. Denny Oetomo (Co-Director University of Melbourne & Fourier Intelligence Robotics Lab)

(Bottom row, from left): Sarah Lim (Clinical Application Specialist, FI), Taya Hamilton (Clinical Application Consultant, FI), Sophia Li (Partnerships & Strategic Project Manager, KITE)

The KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and Fourier Intelligence to jointly develop a new world-class Rehabilitation Robotics Centre

CANADA & SINGAPORE, Dec 18, 2020 – The KITE Research Institute at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and Fourier Intelligence have formed an important global partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The two parties are pleased to announce they have entered a global partnership to expand KITE’s robotics research and education capabilities including the establishment of a new world-class Rehab Robotics Centre with Fourier’s next-gen RehabHub™ and support from its network of researchers. A virtual signing event took place on Dec. 16.

Fourier’s next generation RehabHub™ Robotics and central patient management system.

The research at UHN will be conducted by KITE, the No. 1 ranked Rehab Research Facility in the world, and one of the principal research enterprises at Canada’s top research hospital network, UHN.

The announcement of this partnership is timely, given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and society’s changing attitudes on the adoption of home-based rehabilitation technologies and telerehabilitation. The KITE-Fourier partnership brings together clinicians, researchers, and engineers in technology development to further propel the field of rehabilitation robotics/technologies and help support users through successful healthcare technology integrations.

The MOU was co-signed by Dr. Milos R. Popovic, Director of the KITE Research Institute, a pioneer in the field of bioengineering and assistive technologies and Zen Koh, Fourier Intelligence’s Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO.

“Zen and I have been acquainted for many years, and it is great to finally come together in a collaboration to realize what we have both been discussing for the past few years,” said Popovic, who is also a professor with the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. “Fourier is a great partner and this agreement will help us achieve KITE’s vision of developing a new world-class Rehab Robotics Centre. We are currently in the process of raising $12 million to get this Rehab Robotics Centre up and running.”

Dr Milos R. Popovic, Director of the KITE Research Institute.

“We are excited about this partnership. KITE, under the leadership of Milos, is considered one of the top global research facilities in the field of rehabilitation,” said Zen Koh, Fourier Intelligence’s Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO. “Working together, we can consolidate our resources and jointly design and develop next-generation technologies for our clinicians and patients.”

Mr Zen Koh, Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO, Fourier Intelligence.

The MOU coverage focuses on the field of, among others, robotics rehabilitation research, the formation of a joint lab with Fourier Intelligence’s multitude of institutional research labs and a regional education centre. Professor Denny Oetomo, who is leading the University of Melbourne & Fourier Intelligence Robotics Lab, was also present during the virtual signing ceremony. “We are thrilled to be able to work with KITE as they have well-integrated engineering and clinical testing,” added Oetomo.

To further strengthen the partnership, KITE will also join Fourier’s Global Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Network (GReAT) Network, to optimize resource sharing and promote translational research of rehabilitation technology into clinical practice.

Fourier Intelligence’s RehabHub™

About University Health Network Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is the largest rehabilitation hospital in Canada, and a member of the University Health Network. The research arm of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, KITE, is a world leader in complex rehabilitation science and is dedicated to improving the lives of people living with the effects of disability, illness, and ageing. KITE is one of the principal research enterprises at the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s top research hospital with more than $350 million in total annual research expenditures.

UHN Media contact
Jarrett Churchill
Senior Advisor, Public Affairs and Communications
KITE | University Health Network

For investor and media inquiries, please contact:
Zen Koh (Group Deputy CEO/Chief Strategy Officer)
Fourier Intelligence
Phone: +65-9338-2328


Fourier Intelligence Launches The New LineMotus™ L1


LineMotus™ L1 will be the new lightweight and portable upper limb rehabilitation robotics

BEIJING, Nov 27-29, 2020 – 4th Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Conference and International Rehabilitation Equipment Expo was held at the Beijing National Convention Center. Fourier Intelligence participated in the exhibition and released a new product, LineMotus™ L1 which is an intelligent linear motion training robot to empower the health care institutions in the elementary level.

LineMotus™ L1 inherits the design concept of “Less is more”. It simplifies the tedious upper limb rehabilitation exercises yet achieves point-to-point repetitive linear motion. The device is designed to be light and portable, easy to install, and suitable for a variety of rehabilitation methods

Thanks to LineMotus™’s streamlined and compact structural design, users can adjust to a variety of training positions to achieve their rehabilitation goals. Users can also combine multiple devices to achieve complex exercise training such as shoulder joint adduction and abduction, elbow joint flexion and extension, and pushing-pulling motion.

With gamification training methods, multi-sensory interactive feedback can be achieved. With the immersive and interactive experience, users can have visual-audio feedback. The built-in mechanics of the interactive games are very much suitable for elderlies in the community health centre to train their muscle strength, control, and reaction.

LineMotus Games
Therapy games provided by the LineMotus L1

With the Fourier Intelligence’s advanced device interconnection technology, multiple devices can be interconnected and interacted in real time. This can be implemented to both single and double upper limb training or group training, which gives LineMotus™ L1 its uniqueness when it comes to rehabilitation training.

Adhering to the fine tradition of Fourier intelligent rehabilitation robots, LineMotus™ L1 uses a new independently developed motion control card and high-performance motor to fully upgrade the core force feedback algorithm to achieve precise force control. The built-in high-precision sensor ensures that the whole training process is quantifiable.

It supports a full set of training modes such as active, passive, assistive, and resistance. It also provides personalised programs for various training such as motion control, muscle strength, and cognition, which covers the needs of the entire rehabilitation period.

Alex Gu Jie, CEO of Fourier Intelligence, mentioned that in the entire Fourier Intelligence RehabHub™ concept, LineMotus™ L1 is an entry-level linear motion training robotic device. The adoption of robotics at all level speeds up the coverage of intelligent rehabilitation system and promotes the abundancy of the industry hence bringing more intelligent technology into daily life. This allows more elderly people to enjoy intelligent rehabilitation services.


Fourier Intelligence Raises 100 Million RMB in Series C Financing Round

The company has completed a new Series C Financing round to fund and accelerate investment in research and development, sales and support

SHANGHAI, Oct 23, 2020 – Fourier Intelligence announced it had completed its Series C financing round led by Vision Plus Capital, a leading venture capital fund focusing in digital healthcare and deep tech. Qianhai FOF, one of Fourier Intelligence’s current shareholder, co-invested in this round as well. This new round of funds will be mainly invested to further expand Fourier Intelligence’s already impressive product line, to enhance its fully integrated intelligent rehabilitation robotic system, known as the Fourier Intelligence RehabHubTM Concept.

“The intelligent rehabilitation has been possible since the advent of the digital and intelligence era. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the developing trend of the rehabilitation field while the viability of Fourier’s business model has been verified,” says Fourier Intelligence’s Founder, Group CEO and Executive Chairman Alex Gu. “Our investors fuel momentum into the company, which will further iterate and replicate the products to enter a high-growth period. We aim to form an industry-driven platform to achieve the strategic vision of Robotics for All.”

Fourier Intelligence’s Founder, Group CEO and Executive Chairman, Alex Gu

“As if the central kitchen that enables the restaurant industry to realise chain operations across the country and even globally, the standardisation of clinical rehabilitation protocols will also support the development of rehabilitation departments that deliver positive clinical outcomes consistently. Our target is to enable 50-100 thousand rehabilitation facilities globally through our RehabHubTM Concept, and eventually provide quality rehabilitation services to millions of elderly, paediatric, and neurological patients,” he claimed.

Headquartered in Shanghai and with offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Guangzhou and Zhuhai, Fourier Intelligence is an innovative global technology company dedicated to researching, manufacturing, and marketing of rehabilitation robotics and comprehensive intelligent solutions.

Founded in 2015, the company has teamed up with experienced researchers, engineers, and medical specialists to develop the complete rehabilitation system to serve hospitals, communities and patients.

“We are excited about this collaboration with Fourier Intelligence, and we are confident that this investment will serve as the catalyst that will further fuel the already excellent growth trajectory Fourier Intelligence has been experiencing for the past two years. With its sterling track record in developing innovative, clinically applicable fully-integrated rehabilitation solutions as well as delivering proven rehabilitation medical services to create a complete rehabilitation ecosystem,” says Tian Min, partner of Vision Plus Capital.

She adds that “Rehabilitation is an important and vastly underrated industry segment with huge market potential. We are fully convinced that Fourier Intelligence is well-positioned to lead this trending industry globally, with its proven technology solution system (RehabHubTM), which consists of robotics, AI, big data, cloud-based patient management systems, and clinical service delivery model.”

“Fourier Intelligence has achieved encouraging growth and positive developments over the past years. More than 1,000 hospitals and research institutes have successfully installed technology solutions developed by Fourier Intelligence, across 30 countries worldwide. To ensure continuous technological innovation, Fourier Intelligence has established several joint research labs. Such as the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab based in Chicago, the ETH Sensory Lab based in Zürich and the Advanced Robotic Lab based in the University of Melbourne. Such strong global research networks are rare within our industry and is key towards our success.” says Fourier Intelligence Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO, and Chief Strategy Officer, Zen Koh.

Fourier Intelligence Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO, and Chief Strategy Officer, Zen Koh

Recent studies indicate that rehabilitation resources are incredibly scarce and unevenly distributed across China. The shortage of rehabilitation therapists are known to be as high as 300,000, and there is a severe lack of rehabilitation service capacity. Current practices are human-intensive and lack efficiency. It is estimated, just China alone, the anticipated market size for rehabilitation and its related industry exceed 100 billion RMB.

To address this significant shortfall, Fourier Intelligence launches the RehabHub™ Concept, aiming to improve the adoption of rehabilitation robotics and technologies in rehabilitation facilities. The RehabHub™ Concept will improve efficiency and efficacy and transform the conventional rehabilitation approach.

Fourier Intelligence’s RehabHub™ Concept

For investor and media inquiries, please contact:
Mr Zen Koh (Co-Founder / Deputy CEO / Chief Strategy Officer)
Fourier Intelligence
Phone: +65-9338-2328


IISART Names Zen Koh And Gery Colombo As Ambassadors

Co-Founder of Fourier Intelligence to become inaugural ambassadors for IISART

SHANGHAI, June 19, 2020 – The International Industry Society in Advanced Rehabilitation Technology (IISART) has officially named Zen Koh and Dr Gery Colombo to become the industry body’s inaugural ambassadors, responsible for expanding its global network of associate members and corporate partners.

The decision was made on June 15 following a unanimous vote, where Koh, currently Co-Founder and Deputy Group CEO of Fourier Intelligence, was elected into his role as an IISART ambassador alongside Dr Colombo, the founder and former president of IISART. Gery Colombo is also the Founder and Former CEO of Hocoma AG in Zurich.

Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, IISART is an organisation that seeks to promote modern healthcare technology in rehabilitation.

“Zen has made valuable contributions to the field of rehabilitation technology for a long time,” Dr Iris Jakob, co-president of IISART, explained the reason for electing Koh as an ambassador.

A well-connected, globe-trotting technopreneur with a long career in neurorehabilitation technology, spanning across research and development, clinical application, and market development, Zen is well-respected in the industry, and well-positioned to give IISART greater visibility across the world and offer support in cross-cultural communication, Dr Jakob adds.

“Many of the IISART members know him well, and we appreciate him, not only for his business abilities but also for his soft skills,” Dr Martina Spiess, the other co-president of IISART says, “Zen brings people together, across the planet and across cultures, languages, time zones.”

Zen Koh, who joined Fourier Intelligence in June 2018, is expected to swell the ranks of IISART company members after he is installed in his new role. He is also the first Asian to enter the steering committee of IISART.

“This is a privilege for me personally, to work alongside a team of professionals and experts in this industry to further champion and promote technologies for rehabilitation. I am humbled and appreciative that the IISART members acknowledge my past works,” says Koh.

Dr Gery Colombo, Founder and Former CEO of Hocoma AG

“It is also immensely uplifting to know that I am awarded this ambassadorship together with the much revered Dr Gery Colombo, who had been president of IISART for eight years before stepping down in 2019.”

At the moment, IISART consists of 25 industry-leading company members and five associate members. Of them five companies – including Fourier Intelligence – are from Asia, a region that IISART is keen to tap further to grow its member base.

“With all the existing strong companies in rehabilitation technology in Asia, there is a lot of potential for IISART,” says Dr Jakob, noting that all geographical regions should be involved equally if IISART were to push forward rehabilitation technology.

In spite of a clear division of labor between the two new ambassadors, both Dr Colombo and Koh are expected to combine their experiences, knowledge, and personal connections to advance the progress of neurorehabilitation robotics.

Tasked with overseeing IISART’s strategy for the APAC region, Koh will also be responsible for boosting collaboration among members in a number of areas: education of stakeholders, organising conferences for knowledge exchange, promoting the field as a whole, contributing to standards of manufacturing, influence healthy policy and achieve reimbursement.

Complex as these goals are, Koh says he has already made inroads, with a few of Fourier Intelligence’s Asian partners landing nomination into IISART’s various sub-committees.

Moreover, the Global Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Summit, or GReAT Summit, which was organised under the auspices of Fourier Intelligence and made its debut early this year, has also been designated as an associate member of IISART pending official approval. These moves are in line with IISART’s expectations that Koh will contribute more resources to IISART and broaden its reach across the globe.

“My ambassadorship also marks a milestone for Fourier Intelligence, as we can further foster the exchange of knowledge between the east and west, through IISART. Fourier Intelligence looks forward to sharing its knowledge and experience at the highest level of global excellence in this field,” says Koh.

He believes that Fourier Intelligence, founded in 2015, has made tremendous progress and gained a significant amount of global acknowledgement for its efforts in promoting innovation, development, and adoption of technologies in the field of rehabilitation.

“My new role is indicative of the long way this five-year-old startup has come in terms of having a positive contribution to the industry/profession,” says Koh. “With my ambassadorship, Fourier Intelligence is looking forward to partner with IISART and its members to further develop the industry/profession.”


Fourier Intelligence Inks MoU To Cements Ties With ETH Zurich

MoU with ETH Zurich to test and optimise EXOPS and upper extremity rehabilitation robotics

SHANGHAI, Jan 13, 2020 – Shanghai Fourier Intelligence, an emerging global leader in rehabilitation robotics, has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Sensory-Motor Systems Lab at ETH Zurich, a topnotch research institution in Switzerland.

The MoU came on the heels of the Global Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Network Summit (GReAT Summit) chiefly organised by the Shanghai-based startup, which was founded in 2015.

Professor Robert Riener, director of the Sensory-Motor Systems Lab at ETH Zurich, one of the top five Polytechnique universities across Europe, and Associated professor Denny Oetomo, head of the Fourier Intelligence-University of Melbourne Joint Lab, put pen to paper at the signing ceremony.

The MoU came as the Shanghai tech company has been aggressively reaching out to leading world hospitals and academic bodies over the past few years in hopes of conducting joint research in rehabilitation robotics technology.

According to Zen Koh, Fourier Intelligence Co-founder, Group Deputy CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, details of the MoU have been finalised several months ago, pending official announcement during the GReAT Summit.

The MoU will give a new impetus to the long-standing academic ties between the two sides. It could see both parties start to test and optimise the EXOPS (Exoskeleton & Robotics Open Platform System) and the upper extremity rehabilitation robotics ArmMotus M2 Pro. Fourier Intelligence will supply the devices to ETH Zurich.

“One (of our areas of cooperation) is the further development, use and test of the X2,” says Professor Riener. “The other is with the upper extremity robotics, because we have rich experience with upper extremity rehabilitation.”

He added the access he has to clinics could also help entitle Fourier Intelligence products to tests by patients.

Associate professor Denny Oetomo from the University of Melbourne applauded the MoU, saying this could set the stage for new collaboration, starting perhaps with ” visits to each other’s labs.”

Over time, a bigger focus will be on examining exoskeleton techniques being used in labs. “(At ETH Zurich) They have very well integrated engineering and clinical testing,” he says.

The two sides are also recruiting two full-time researchers at ETH Zurich to help with the joint lab project.

“There have yet to be concrete steps toward commercialisation as collaboration with ETH is purely about research,” Associated professor Oetomo claims.


Fourier Intelligence Weaves Global Collaborative Network On Rehabilitation

Fourier Intelligence’s successful first annual GReAT Summit

SHANGHAI, Jan 13, 2020 – Shanghai Fourier Intelligence, a tech startup focusing on rehabilitation robotics, has just concluded its inaugural Global Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Network Summit, held yesterday in Shanghai.

The event, known for short as the GReAT Summit, opened to great fanfare and was attended by more than 500 guests with diverse backgrounds in rehabilitation, clinical medicine, technology, industry and so on.

This is the first time the 4-year-old Shanghai company, which is an emerging global leader in the design and manufacturing of mass-market rehabilitation robotics, has brought together world-famed academics and industry practitioners to discuss a range of issues pertinent to rehabilitation technology and patient care.

Alex Gu, Fourier Intelligence Founder and Group CEO, speaks at the GReAT Summit

“Technology knows no borders, and nor does medicine,” says Alex Gu, Fourier Intelligence Founder and Group CEO. “We only have one common enemy to vanquish, and that is diseases.”

As Chinese population ages rapidly, the country is grappling with a spike in the incidence of age-related diseases like stroke. Products and services that aid the elderly with mobility impairment are much in demand, presenting a huge opportunity for a contingent of tech startups tapping into the senior care segment.

A rapidly aging China needs to embrace technology to rise to challenges brought by changing demographics, primarily an increase of certain diseases, Mei Zhe, deputy director of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, told the audience at the GReAT Summit. As part of the GReAT Summit, Fourier Intelligence also partnered with China Health Promotion Foundation to launch a public-welfare initiative known as “Grassroots Rehabilitation Innovative Service and Capacity-Building Program.”

Group photo taken at the closing ceremony of GReAT Summit held on January 12

According to some estimates, China has a shortfall of some 300,000 therapists. This problem affects all of China’s hospitals, but to varying degrees. Third and fourth-tier cities are dealt a poor hand as they find themselves in the shallow end of a talent pool.

With an aim to enable hospitals in these regions to offer innovative physiotherapy to underprivileged citizens, the new initiative will serve as a platform for pooling resources and building a more inclusive and accessible multi-level rehabilitation service system across the country, so as to reach patients in remote corners of the country.

To date, China has 249 million people aged 60 and older, about 60 percent of whom are seeking rehabilitation medication, but only 15 percent of those needs are met, says Mei Zhe, deputy director of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, at the GReAT Summit.

In a megapolis like Shanghai, which has been graying rapidly over the past decade, demographers reported that by the end of 2018, permanent residents 60 years of age and above accounted for 34.4 percent of the city’s population, meaning that one in three locals is a senior citizen.

“Through cutting-edge rehabilitation and assistive technology, we can bring hope to the elderly to have a better quality of life, ” Mei of Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau noted. “The future is bright for the rehabilitation and assistive technology industry.”

Fourier Intelligence RehabHub™

As an industry leader, Fourier Intelligence has been at the forefront of meeting patient needs via technologies like rehabilitation robotics. On top of the upper extremity robotics, exoskeletons and other gadgets in its product line, the company also introduced seven new products at the summit, aimed at satisfying the needs of stroke patients and other victims of impaired mobility throughout the rehabilitation process.

Among the new additions, a highlight was a 380-gramme wearable robotics called HandyRehab. With roughly the same weight as a canned Coke, it fits easily on the user’s hands like a glove and is designed to help complete simple day-to-day tasks such as grasping an object or opening a bottle for patients whose hands are immobile from stroke, Parkinson’s disease, neurological disorders and other handicaps. All these gizmos will fit into an integrated system.

Fourier Intelligence’s HandyRehab

“The RehabHub incorporates engaging user interfaces and reward-based therapeutic methods like games to encourage patients to willingly undergo physiotherapy, as opposed to conventional therapy where patients are subject to repetition of mundane, boredom-inducing movements. In a RehabHub, all data generated during training sessions can be accessed and shared, forming a truly intelligent interconnected rehabilitation network,” says Gu, Group CEO of Fourier Intelligence.

Innovations like these promise to benefit China’s legion of physically challenged people, who are increasingly reliant on advances in technology to improve their lives.

“Apart from the fact that the number of senior citizens (aged 60 and older) is increasing by 5.4 percent each year, we are also confronted with the arduous task of providing rehabilitation to people with physical disabilities,” says Liu Xiaochun, head of the Managing Committee of Specialised Funds under China Health Promotion Foundation.

He added that nationwide there are 85 million people with disabilities who need to be cared for, and also to be treated and guided by means of modern technology and management.

Fourier Intelligence has responded by initiating the GReAT Network, which includes a number of leading medical and research institutions such as the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, ETH Zurich, Imperial College London, the University of Melbourne, Instituto Cajal, h/p/cosmos sports & medical gmbh, among others.

Zen Koh, Fourier Intelligence Co-Founder, Group Deputy CEO and Chief Strategy Officer, speaks at the GReAT Summit

“The expected role the GReAT Network is to leverage the synergies of scientists, researchers, engineers and clinical therapists to build a vast network of global rehabilitation resources”, says Zen Koh, Fourier Intelligence Co-founder, Group Deputy CEO and Chief Strategy Officer.

“Strokes, spinal cord injuries and paralysis are issues of global concern. Traditional treatment can do little to help. We have to look for new paths to recovery,” says Jose Pons, chair of the Leg + Walking Lab at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, which has topped the rankings of US neurorehabilitation hospitals for 28 consecutive years.


Chinese Startup Reinvent The Exoskeleton

For the 85 million disabled in China, obtaining a set of rehab exoskeletons is a far-off dream. The futuristic product, which promises greater flexibility and independence, can cost as much as half a million U.S. dollars. Considering that the average disposal income per capita in 2018 was RMB28,228 (US$4,155) in China, one would need to save 120 years of income to afford the equipment.

No wonder a slew of startups have attempted to create cheaper products to tap into this potentially massive and lucrative market. One of them is Fourier Intelligence, a Shanghai-based company backed by Chinese investors including IDG Capital and Shenzhen Qianhai Fund of Funds. But the path toward helping the disabled walk is full of daunting challenges.

“The real hurdle for us is that exoskeleton is not being widely used,” said Zen Koh, managing director of Fourier Intelligence, during a phone interview with China Money Network in January. “The main reason is the technological constraint: None of the known 165 companies, laboratories, and research institutions working on exoskeletons can build a product that can be worn on a daily basis for hours. Imagine you buy a several-hundred-thousand-worth device, but you still need to walk around with crutches, then what is the purpose?”

This creates a vicious circle, in which low usage and high price keep most consumers watching on the sidelines. It in turn leads to the inability to scale. What Fourier Intelligence wants to do is to make products at the price level of around US$20,000, eventually lower it to just a few thousand, making it affordable to all disabled.

At the same time, Fourier Intelligence, drawing its name from the French mathematician Joseph Fourier, is tweaking its products to suit the real needs of users. Its next-generation rehab exoskeleton product “Fourier X2” is designed to assist lower limb rehab for stroke patients and other victims of mobility impairment. The new product, being only one third as expensive as standard exoskeletons in the market, is equipped with a self-developed active motion control system. The system includes four power units and six multi-dimensional mechanical sensors installed near thighs, shanks and soles to read and react to users’ movement intentions. In comparison, most products in the market are based on predetermined programs of the exoskeletons to guide users’ movements.

Fourier Intelligence introduced its next-generation rehab exoskeleton product “Fourier X2” on January 21 to assist lower limb rehab for stroke patients and other victims of mobility impairment.

Zen Koh started serving as deputy CEO of Fourier Intelligence since June 2018. Prior to his current position, Koh was the managing director for Hocoma and the Assistant Chief Executive (ACE) for the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), which is one of the apex bodies of cooperatives in Singapore.

Below is an edited version of the interview.

Q: How is the development of the exoskeleton market in China now?

A: I think the Chinese market is huge for exoskeleton because Chinese people are very receptive to new technologies. However, the race in the Chinese exoskeleton market hasn’t even started. I think we are at the exploratory phase.

I hate to say that I think a lot of companies are playing the role of a follower. They study what has been done around the world and try to make it better, cheaper and faster. In my observation, I feel that a lot of people do not know what exoskeleton products they are building and who/why they are building for.

This is dangerous. It’s a bit like reinventing the wheels. We are using the same resources – limited resources, and patience of consumers – to do the same thing again and again. It’s not surprising to me that the exoskeleton market is losing money.

And not just Chinese companies, many international companies build their products based on the latest and most “sexy” technologies available. Then they try to find or justify the needs for the patients. Look at the most successful exoskeleton companies in the world, like California-based Ekso Bionics, their share prices have been dropping for three years or five years till now.

Q: How should the Chinese exoskeleton industry innovate?

A: At this stage, exoskeleton developers, which are also generally known as robotic companies, will have to conduct research and development based on their experience in the market to meet the real needs of target customers. Our suggestion is to have a good understanding of the field. Then understanding our strength and using it to develop solutions for that field.

Fourier believes in identifying the purpose of the technologies to be developed. We work closely with clinicians and patients to understand users’ real needs.

Q: There are a lot of exoskeleton products in the market, which are usually priced at between US$70,000 to US$200,000. Is this price range suitable for consumers in China?

A: You must look at this question from two different angles. First, the price is high for sure. But if exoskeleton can help a person stand up and walk again, it is not expensive. The real challenge for us is that exoskeleton is not being widely used, due to technological constraint, price, and usability.

The main reason is the technological constraint: None of the known 165 companies, laboratories, and research institutions working on exoskeletons can build a product that can be used daily for long hours. Only a few are able to build safe exoskeleton products to perform independent movements. Yet balance is still a problem, meaning users still have to use crutches to be able to walk independently. Imagine you buy a several-hundred-thousand-worth device, but you still need to walk around with crutches, what is the purpose? The price is considered expensive because it cannot fully serve the needs of patients.

Consider it from a different angle: If the adoption of exoskeleton increases, the price will come down because of the economy of scale. We believe the price will eventually reduce to maybe US$55,000 or US$20,000, or even just a few thousand.

But if the economy of scale is not there, and there’s only a small quantity of usage, the price will not drop. So, it is like a vicious cycle, which together lead to low adoption rate. I think, in at least five to ten years, we will have a decent exoskeleton product that can serve the purpose of helping people work independently.

Q: What is your outlook for the industry?

A: In the past, foreign companies priced the device at around half a million U.S. dollars. In the future, I believe every single hospital, clinic, even small private clinic, and home-based therapist will be able to afford some forms of robotic devices to help them perform rehab and physical training tasks to achieve better results.

For Fourier, we hope to build our open platform, attracting an increasing number of clinicians, researchers, engineers, and even hobbyists to adopt our core technologies to develop more meaningful applications. We believe exoskeleton products eventually will become mainstream in three to five years. It is like air conditioners, washing machines, and smartphones, you will feel significantly inconvenient if you are deprived of it.

We hope to have intelligent machines that can interact with each other, send user data to the cloud and provide recommendations of solutions based on AI technology. They will become a great tool to help day-to-day tasks.

Q: Fourier Intelligence introduced a new product named “Fourier X2” in late January. What is special in the technologies adopted by it?

A: The new Fourier X2 is lighter, with better materials to make it more wearable. The application can be used in research, education, different augmentation application purposes, and industrial use.

Currently, the exoskeleton products in the Chinese market are passive, meaning users can only move in ways predetermined by programs of the exoskeleton equipment. The Fourier X2 has four senses in its self-developed active motion control system. We can understand the patients’ intention of movements to allow our machines to improve performances.

Q: The active motion control module applies enhanced algorithms to better handle the adjustment of users’ movement in real-time. Do you want to use artificial intelligence (AI) technology in the future?

A: Yes. They can be part of the machine learning after we have more data in the future. But as of now, the algorithms are used to optimize the controls including motion control and PID (proportional–integral–derivative) control.

Q: Will Fourier Intelligence develop other kinds of exoskeleton products in the future, like those in the Iron Man, which are used to augment human being’s physical strength?

A: Fourier focuses on the rehab and medical field. That’s why we are not venturing into robotics for other applications.

Q: Fourier raised a RMB30 million (US$4.44 million) series B round of financing in early 2018. How was the fundraising process?

A: It was smooth. We’re working on a new round of financing from three potential investors, hopefully to announce the completion of the new round latest by March or earliest by February. It is challenging during the current time as the expectation from investors is definitely higher.


Fourier Intelligence Showcases At WCPT 2019 Expands Global Influence

Shanghai, May 15, 2019 – From May 10th to 13th, WCPT 2019 Congress was held in Geneva, Switzerland. Rehabilitation, as the core topic featuring on this year’s program, is also the focus of Fourier Intelligence. At a joint booth with the German and US partners, Fourier Intelligence represents its innovative products and promotes distinctive rehabilitation concepts. By participating in this grand gathering, Fourier Intelligence aims to strengthen its leadership in the rehabilitation market and also explore further development in the future of the healthcare industry.

The WCPT is the world’s largest and most influential congress in physical therapy and creates an international communication platform with over 4,000 physiotherapists, researchers, research institutions and rehabilitation companies. Fourier Intelligence is showcasing both Fourier M2 upper extremity rehabilitation robotics and Fourier X2 lower extremity rehabilitation robotics. The Fourier M2 simulates the therapist’s hand through haptic feedback sensors and provides a variety of training modes to meet different training goals at every stage of rehabilitation. The Fourier X2 provides intensive gait training for patients with hemiplegia, paraplegia, and spinal cord injury and to eventually walk independently. During WCPT, therapists show great interest in the Fourier’s technologies for upper and lower extremity rehabilitation and responded with great feedback.

Fourier Intelligence Team with the German partner and the US partner

Fourier Intelligence focuses on robotic technologies to assist in rehabilitation training and seeks to develop advanced robotic technologies for meaningful clinical application.

The therapist tries Fourier M2 Upper-Extremity Rehabilitation Robotics

The WCPT provides a communication stage to exchange views about the rehabilitation topics. “Now is the time to establish strong strategic cooperation to create win-win with our partners. We are in good progress in establishing a solid foothold in the German and Swiss market.” Fourier Intelligence Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Zen Koh points out. “With our participation at WCPT, we will intensify our cooperation with global partners and customers. We will further expand our European market so that we can serve more people through widening access to our rehabilitation products.”

By being part of the WCPT, Fourier Intelligence is not only presenting its products but also come together with strategic partners to jointly promote the development of the physical therapy industry using advanced robotic technology.


Fourier Intelligence To Field A Team Of Exoskeleton ‘Athletes’ For Cybathlon 2020

Shanghai, March 29, 2019 – Fourier Intelligence and University of Melbourne today announce to deepen their collaboration and join forces in a sports team, Advanced Lower Extremity eXoskeleton (A.L.E.X.) to attend Cybathlon competition in Zurich, 2020. This partnership focuses on representing the advances of Fourier X2 modular exoskeleton robotics and demonstrating its functionality in achieving typical tasks of daily life within the contest to other competitors.

Cybathlon is a championship for individuals with disabilities using advanced robotic assistive devices. A group of respective expertise from Fourier Intelligence and the University of Melbourne and their volunteer athletes, called pilots, team up for attending the Cybathlon 2020.

Pilots are those suffering from spinal cord injuries while their action commands from brains cannot pass through the damaged spinal nerves.

How, then, can researchers offer hope to assist these pilots in walking again and improving life self-care ability? The answer comes from the technology of lower extremity exoskeleton.

By applying Fourier X2 Intelligent Rehabilitation Robotics, this wearable device can read and react to users’ movement intentions and as a result, keep users mobile and independent. Furthermore, the team deploys the new, enhanced algorithm to adjust the users’ gait in real-time based on multi-dimensional mechanical sensors.

The highlight of Fourier X2 Robotics is the optimised user-centred handling. Interactive response by sensing the users’ intentions and needs instead of predetermine actions differentiates Fourier X2 apart from any other product in this field.

“Fourier X2 increases the torque output and breaks through the boundary of single training mode,” says Alex Gu, chief executive of Fourier Intelligence. “X2 is much more comfortable and user-friendly.” This could give the team a competitive advantage in Cybathlon race.

Altogether, the Cybathlon comprises six sporting disciplines and team A.L.E.X will be competing in the Powered Exoskeleton Race. During the competition, the pilots are challenged with a series of basic tasks including sitting down on a sofa and standing up, walking a slalom course and titled surfaces, walking up and down a steep ramp, opening a door and walking through it, walking over stepping stones. As the competition progresses, the challenges get more difficult for the pilots, for example completing tasks such as waking up and down stairs. The pilot with the best overall time wins.


Confirmed participating teams of Powered Exoskeleton Race

Team A.L.E.X will face various opponents from 10 countries during the race. Cybathlon is providing a valuable opportunity for industry and academia to compare and contrast a diverse range of assistive technologies under one roof, which has not been done on this scale before. It is motivating and rewarding to raise social awareness of assistive technology and disability, which eventually will encourage the translation of new technology.

As Zen Koh, Chief Strategy Officer of Fourier Intelligence said: “We notice that there is still a long way to promote exoskeleton robotics to be safer and more wearable. However, participating Cybathlon could provide us with a platform to represent our technologies and converge the goals between researchers and end-users. Meanwhile, we could widen the horizon to share and learn from others to lead to advances in the field.”

Team A.L.E.X puts massive efforts to prepare for the Cybathlon and looks forward to achieving great success at the race.

Fourier Intelligence is an innovative global technology company focusing on the developing, manufacturing and marketing of rehabilitation robotics and exoskeleton, based in Singapore and Shanghai. We strive to develop evidence-based top quality medical technologies that are accessible and affordable for all (hospitals, community-based rehab clinics, etc.).

For investor and media inquiries, please contact:
Mr. Zen Koh (MD & CSO)
Fourier Intelligence
Phone: +65 9338 2328 / +86 152 2114 9590