MassDevice Q&A: Myomo CEO Steve Kelly

January 28, 2010 by Brad Perriello

Myomo Inc. CEO Steve Kelly on his company's portable, robotic device for stroke rehabilitation and the coming wave that will revolutionize the medical device industry as we know it.

Myomo's e100 NeuroRobotic System

Steve Kelly's spent three decades watching new technology that originated in consumer electronics wreak havoc on well-established industries. The CEO of Myomo Inc. bore witness as new technologies redefined the home computing market in the 1980s, the telecom space in the 1990s and the changes voice-over-IP technology brought to telephony in the last decade.

Kelly sees a similar wave heading for the shores of the medical device industry. MassDevice spoke with him to hear his take on where the sector is headed and why.

MassDevice: Can you give us a quick primer on the origins and history of Myomo?

Steve Kelly: This technology comes out of the lab of Prof. Woodie Flowers. Woodie was one of the leading professors in mechanical engineering and robotics at MIT. He developed the Boston Arm, he was the first host of the American Scientific show that Alan Alda does, co-founded FIRST Robotics with Dean Kamen.

A couple of his students came up with the idea. There are prosthetics for amputatees, but for people who have some sort of muscular impairment, why isn't there something to help them? So it began as a research project. They won the MIT 50k [business plan contest] back a few years ago it got spun out as a company and today the company has an arm product on the market, the e100, that is cleared for treating people who have a stroke.

MassDevice: What's your background? How did you come to a career in medical devices, and what's the appeal of this industry for you personally?

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