CYBERDYNE Is Making LED-Based Photoacoustic Imaging Technology Accessible In Europe and the USA

CYBERDYNE is a Japanese robotics and technology company of which the European division is based in CIC Rotterdam. The company aims to create the ideal future by researching, developing, manufacturing, and shipping innovative Cybernics, which is the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things like animals and human beings.


CYBERDYNE is best known for its Hybrid Assistive Limb(HAL) systems, which are the world’s first cyborg-type robots. HAL is controlled by “bio-electrical signals” that appear on the surface of the skin reflecting motion intent. Apart from multiple variants of HAL, CYBERDYNE also develops medical diagnostic devices. They have recently been focusing on the development and clinical translation of its proprietary LED-based photoacoustic imaging technology, called AcousticX. 

Photoacoustic imaging is an evolving medical imaging technique used by several prominent Dutch research groups, such as Erasmus MC, Eindhoven University, and the University of Twente. To make LED-based photoacoustic imaging technology accessible in Europe and the USA, they decided to start a new division at CIC Rotterdam. This division only focuses on research and business development activities related to photoacoustic imaging. 

Who are the founders of CYBERDYNE? 

CYBERDYNE INC. was established in June 2004, to disseminate the research result of Prof. Dr. Yoshiyuki Sankai, University of Tsukuba, Japan. In 2018, CYBERDYNE, INC. added AcousticX into their product lineup. Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh was hired to lead the Rotterdam-based, European division for developing the photoacoustic imaging technology further. At this point, AcousticX is being sold as research equipment to universities and institutes. There are also efforts in identifying the right clinical applications by collaborating with multiple medical institutes in Europe and the USA for pilot studies. In the long term, the target is to translate this new imaging technology to clinics to touch the lives of people globally. Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh: ‘I am a scientist who is fascinated by this new imaging technique. But, over the years, I learned that numbers (sales revenue, funding to develop further) are more important to survive the translational phase.’

Who is your target group and what are you changing/disrupting for them? 

The Rotterdam division of CYBERDYNE currently sells AcousticX as research equipment. The main target group are research institutes and universities. According to Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh ‘Photoacoustic imaging is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing biomedical imaging modalities in a research setting. However, clinical translation of this technique is not happening at the expected pace, mainly because of the requirement of bulky, expensive, and slow lasers used for illuminating the tissue. We offer the world’s first photoacoustic imaging system with LED arrays as an illumination source. By utilizing LED arrays, AcousticX is portable, affordable, and energy-efficient, making it an ideal choice for researchers interested in clinical imaging applications.’

What is the key driver of your company’s growth? 

CYBERDYNE was established in June 2004 as a university venture to solve various social problems facing the super-aged society. Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh: ‘To solve these issues we are focusing on business promotion to create the ideal future by researching, developing, manufacturing, and shipping innovative Cybernics systems, focusing on medicine, welfare, life, and the workplace and utilizing a new field called “Cybernics” that combines human resources, robots, and information. In general, we believe that technological innovations will be the key driver for developing a new Cybernics Industry that fuses “Humans” with “Cyberspace and Physical Space”. As far as the Rotterdam branch is considered, the main focus is on the clinical translation of photoacoustic imaging. By utilizing our excellent research and clinical network, we focus to achieve this goal in the coming years.’

What is the best innovation of all time according to you

Dr. Mithun Kuniyil Ajith Singh: 

“For me, the telephone is the best innovation of all time. Maybe I am biased because my research area (photoacoustic imaging) is also connected with this invention. During Alexander Graham Bell’s research in wireless communication, Bell surprisingly found that sound waves could be induced in solids if it was exposed to rapidly interrupted light. Now we are utilizing this effect for seeing through the tissue for early cancer detection. It is exciting even to write this.”

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