April 15, 2022 – Three years ago it was nothing more than a school project and proof of concept — the second-place winner at a university showcase contest — but it grabbed headlines as far away as the United Kingdom.
For their senior project at UTSA, Ryan Saavedra and two classmates had built a robotic prosthetic hand for less than $700, a fraction of what many prosthetics like it on the market cost. Their 3D-printed model, offering artificial intelligence-enhanced bionic prosthetics at an affordable price, dangled the prospect of upheaval in a multibillion-dollar industry. Reporters asked Saavedra, what’s next?
“I had absolutely no idea,” he said, recalling the experience this week. “I was an undergrad with no prior experience of building a company or commercializing a medical device.” In fact, he had no plans to do so.