NextStep Robotics, which last raised funding in February 2018, is commercialising research from two University of Maryland campuses and the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Motor Performance Laboratory.

NextStep Robotics, a US-based robotic stroke rehabilitation device developer based on research from several University of Maryland (UM) campuses, has closed a $600,000 round backed by UM Ventures, according to Technical.ly.

The round was led by philanthropic investment office Abell Foundation with participation from private investors Jeff and Brad Quinn. UM Ventures is the the commercialisation partnership for UM Baltimore and UM College Park.

Founded in 2017, NextStep Robotics is developing a wearable robotic device to aid stroke survivors with the management of foot drop, an after-effect that makes it difficult to lift a toe while walking.

Calibrated from the doctor’s clinic, NextStep’s device aims to improve mobility without relying on braces and crutches. Clinicians can program its software to adopt a mobility-building strategy tailored to the user.

The cash will help NextStep to begin manufacturing and sales, and expand its headcount from five to around 12 later in 2019. NextStep also hopes to deepen its collaborative partnerships and deploy 10 of its units with local clinics over the next year.

NextStep Robotics is based on a decade of work at UM Baltimore’s School of Medicine, UM College Park’s A. James Clark School of Engineering and Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Brad Hennessie, chief executive of NextStep Robotics and former lead for clinical research into conditions including stroke at the School of Medicine, co-founded the spinout together with others including Rich Macko, professor of neurology, medicine and physical therapy and of rehabilitation science.

Anindo Roy, an assistant professor in engineering at the medical school, also co-founded the company, as did Larry Forrester, former director of Baltimore Veterans Affairs Motor Performance Laboratory.

NextStop Robotics had already raised $750,000 of funding in February 2018 from University System of Maryland’s Momentum Fund and a group of investors associated with investment banking consultancy Fort Capital.

– Feature image courtesy of NextStop Robotics.