Co-Founder, CEO of Brink Bionics
Erik found a passion for building myo-electric, modular prosthetics and alongside the expertise of his co-founders, launched Brink Bionics. Brink Bionics aims to change how people interface their nervous systems with robotics and artificial intelligence. They are currently working to level the playing field for gamers through technology with IMPULSE.
Erik is currently a Masters student in the Systems Design Engineering department at the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Dr. Ning Jiang. Erik founded Brink Bionics in 2018 with two experts in the field of upper-limb prosthetics, Dr. Ning Jiang and Dr. Jiayuan He. Erik has developed the various innovations that set the Axo Arm apart from any existing available technologies, from the modular, user repairable design to the low-cost manufacturing focus. He is currently developing machine learning algorithms that will allow for the simultaneous manipulation of individual fingers in the prosthetic hands, as the subject of his thesis research.
How did you get started?
It started as a passion project building a bionic arm, which caught the attention of a professor at the University of Waterloo. I joined the lab there to begin developing a research prosthesis. Through that project we decided to use the IP we built into the research arm as a commercial prosthesis.
What's the most exciting thing that’s happened since launching your company?
One of the most exciting things was winning the 25k Velocity Pitch Competition.
What's the biggest roadblock you’ve faced running your company?
Definitely the medical and the FDA approval process - but I wouldn't change it. I'm glad we went the proper routes to be sure we are making something that is ethically and medically approved.
What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
That this is so much more than just building a cool piece of technology. It's a lot harder than I could have ever imagined running a company in medtech.
Who has been key to your success?
I can't narrow it down to one key person. Everyone has been so important in different ways during this process. From the advisors on our board, to mentors at the Accelorator Centre, to my experienced and talented co-founders, to the clinicians involved, everyone at Velocity, and my family and friends who support me.
What is your favourite spot in Toronto?
It has to be the Hack Lab. It's one of the first 3D print labs I went to when building the original prosthetic. It has such a great community around it.
What’s next for Brink Bionics?
Actually seeing the hand function with a person using it. This will be the most rewarding part of the entire process.