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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

Grasp Robotics, U-M Startup with Focus on Prosthetics Innovation, Rings in License Agreement with Startup Bell Ceremony


Grasp Robotics recently joined the Innovation Partnerships team to celebrate their license agreement with the University of Michigan by ringing the startup bell. 

Grasp Robotics is currently developing artificial muscles for both robotic and prosthetic applications designed to more closely mimic human strength and dexterity. 

“My initial research was focused on humanoid robotics,” stated Grasp Robotics co-founder and chief executive officer Revanth Damerla when discussing the creation of the company’s flagship actuator technology “however, during this process I discovered that prosthetic hands were rejected anywhere from 20-50% of the time by potential users due to their lack of strength.”

The Grasp Robotics’ artificial muscle is aimed to increase user adoption of prosthetic hands by increasing the strength of the actuator fourfold compared to competitors, all while maintaining the speed, size and weight of human muscle. 

Grasp Robotics was created out of Damerla’s doctoral research and innovation in the Precision Systems Design Lab in Mechanical Engineering (PI: Prof. Shorya Awtar). This team has received funding support from the NSF I-Corps program and the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization for Life Sciences Innovation Hub, as well as mentorship services from the Innovation Partnerships mentor-in-residence program. Both Damerla and Scott noted the difficulty of finding funding for such a niche technology, and credited the support of Innovation Partnerships and the wider Michigan commercialization ecosystem for their ability to grow their company and focus on their target market.

The team at Grasp Robotics credits the sense of curiosity and community at U-M with the success of their startup and so many others. 

“We often think of innovation as providing a solution, but it’s actually more about finding the right problem. Revanth spent a significant amount of time interacting with prosthetics researchers across the university, interviewing industry personnel, and reading through numerous articles to identify a pressing yet unmet need,” said Shorya Awtar, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Precision Systems Design Laboratory at U-M, where Damerla conducts his research. 

“The ability to identify a need, no matter how simple or basic it might appear, is a credit to both innovators like Revanth and the U-M innovation ecosystem as a whole.”

As Grasp Robotics continues to work on bringing their actuator to market in the prosthetics space, they are also continuing to look for other sectors in which their technology could be of benefit.

Co-founder and chief operations officer Peter Scott expressed the team’s interest in market expansion for Grasp Robotics: “While market research helped connect us to our current market, we are hopeful that we will be able to expand our market to support the continued advancement of humanoid robotics and exoskeletons.”

Representing Grasp Robotics at the January 24, 2024 ceremony were U-M doctoral student Revanth Damerla, co-founder and chief executive officer of Grasp Robotics, as well as co-founder and chief operations officer Peter Scott. Shorya Awtar, professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Precision Systems Design Laboratory at U-M, where Damerla conducts his research, was also in attendance. 

To learn more about Grasp Robotics, visit their website at