IUVO is a spin-off company of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA) of Pisa and its Institute of BioRobotics. It was founded in January 2015 by Prof. Nicola Vitiello and his colleagues from the Wearable Robotics Laboratory, which is part of The BioRobotics Institute. In August 2017, COMAU (of the Stellantis Group) and Össur invested in IUVO through a joint venture. IUVO's mission is to promote broad adoption of wearable robotic technologies in the medical, industrial and wellness sectors. In 2017, after an initial incubation period at the Institute of BioRobotics, IUVO signed an agreement with SSSA and exclusive license for the commercial exploitation of 10 patent families and know-how regarding various technologies developed from 2007-2008 by the Wearable Robotics Laboratory.
Thanks to the investment obtained from COMAU and Össur, the company has achieved an important result with the development of an exoskeleton for the support of operators carrying out work with raised arms: this is the MATE and MATE XT exoskeleton (the new version of the product).
IUVO is a successful example of the School's promotion and support initiatives. This spin-off company has been able to develop innovative new technologies in the field of robotics to the best of its ability, also by licensing 10 patents owned by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna and employing highly qualified human resources trained in the school’s laboratories. IUVO is an integral part of the beginning of the new industrial revolution that will be enabled by the progress of robotic technology and artificial intelligence, which will consequently allow the development and evolution of human-machine interaction in various sectors.
Development of innovative solution
The technologies developed by IUVO have various degrees of technological maturity (TRL level). In the case of the MATE exoskeleton, commercialisation started in 2019 while other products are still following the testing and prototyping phase.
Social, economic and environmental impact and benefit
The social and economic impacts of technologies are obvious. One thinks of the fact that one of them will help to create the conditions to ensure the autonomy of people with disabilities and to increase them. The impact generated by IUVO also translates in terms of the total number of jobs created together with a growth benefit for the Valdera area where the company is based.
"The integration of advanced research in science and technology allows us to create unique products that can improve the way we live; these products can thus improve the way people move and perform specific functions" explained Nicola Vitiello, scientific head of the Wearable Robotics Laboratory and founding partner of IUVO. "These devices also represent," he underlined, "a sustainable and long-term answer to help increase the level of independence of those who need to use them and, more generally, to promote innovative lifestyles that are capable of promoting human well-being".