Rise Again with iRise Mechanics: First Robotic Mobility Devices
Technology and medicine seem to go hand in hand into a brighter developing future. Thanks to countless scientists and engineers who work tirelessly beside technology every day, patients can rely on the latest tech-medicine.
A young Bulgarian man named Lyubomir Vassilev, struck by gut-wrenching grief, wanted to implement new ways in which medical professionals would tackle the issues of disabled people. Determined to make a change, Lyubomir started an AI-based mobility-device-developing company, iRise Mechanics.
Lyubomir’s company, iRise Mechanics, uses artificial intelligence to develop robotic mobility devices for patients with limb disabilities. iRise mechanics has the goal of reducing the number of deaths that occur from limb impairment accidents and provide the patients with their own safe platform. iRise Mechanics is on the road to completing an AI mobility device for every child, parent, or grandparent in need.
The fascinating story of Lyubomir Vassilev and how he spent his life helping others will teach us that all we need is patience, strive, and a little creativity.
A Visionary Was Born
Lyubomir Vassilev was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in the late 1980s. He was a very quiet and shy child, whose eyes would follow people anywhere across the room. Everyone who had laid their eyes on him thought of him as a kid with big hopes and dreams in his eyes. As a born pacifist, Lyubomir had a great deal of love and understanding for other people. He loved to take care of them and would get very attached to some particular people from his closest family and friends.
Lyubomir showed first signs of coming out of his shell when he became growingly interested in extreme sports like rock climbing, bungee jumping, hiking, and many more. Extreme sports were his source of inspiration, and he would do anything to feel that thrill again. Motorbiking was his favorite, but also the sport that would bring him the most pain.
Even though Lyubomir enjoyed extreme sports, he had a hidden love affair with technology. This characteristic stems from an early age when Lyubomir got his first-ever computer. The following years were pivotal for Lyubomir as he had to choose between two of his greatest passions - extreme sports or the IT sector. Lyubomir chose the latter when he enrolled at the Technical and Transport High School where he worked on Electrical and Diesel Forklifts. This was his sort of way of giving back to the community that had made him exhilarated with joy. During his rock climbing years, Lyubomir would get another chance to decide between the good and the right. And it was during this period that his heart was stolen by Sylvia.
Love at First Jump
Sylvia and Lyubomir met at a hiking event in the early 2000s. When they bumped into each other, it was love at first sight and they both just hit it off. Lyubomir and Sylvia were very happy, and after some years of dating, they got married. The marriage was pretty fruitful as Sylvia and Lyubomir have 5 children. Their marriage was filled with thrills and excitement, until a crucial moment that would change their futures forever happened.
An extreme sports accident caused Sylvia to become paraplegic. Until now, Lyubomir could afford to jump from hobby to hobby. He previously worked as a sales and marketing manager in Bulgaria, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Lyubomir knew how to approach people. He was charismatic and caring, so people would easily trust his kind-hearted nature. Everyone saw how much he struggled to keep Sylvia’s spirit up. And if he himself couldn’t, maybe a mobile device will. Even though he said that his life would be filled with adrenaline-pumping sports, his life called for desperate measures and he turned to his education in engineering. He decided to put his wife’s life into his own hands and with great devotion, Sylvia could walk again.
Being the only parent figure in the family that could move and do the daily errands was overwhelming for the father of five. Sylvia would keep to devastation, while Lyubomir analyzed what he can do to have his wife standing once more.
While analyzing his wife’s daily struggle, Lyubomir realized that the biggest issue was the extended time spent in the wheelchair. He revived his inner doctor and learned that the lack of mobility from the wheelchair causes different issues within the body.
I Rise Above
Lyubomir realized that immobility is the greatest cause of downfall for people with disabilities. The problems could grow even greater as Sylvia could have developed thrombosis, infections, and even muscular spasms. By being positioned vertically, Sylvia enhances her daily physical activity as well as her maneuverability.
After years of struggling with seeing his wife suffer, Lyubomir founded iRise Mechanics in October 2017, in his native Sofia. He called up his classmates and formed a team of expert engineers that worked hard to bring Bulgaria’s first-ever medical robotics system, the Omnibot. The revolutionary Omnibot is a robotic mechanism that assists people with disabilities of the lower body and limbs. The Omnibot helps patients stay in an upward, vertical position. This way the blood can flow freely through the body, without the fear of thrombosis. After the Omnibot was welcomed into his family, Sylvia regained the smile on her face, and harmony was once again bestowed upon the Vassilev home.
iRise Mechanics did see its fair share of distrust in the first few years. Even though not many paid attention to it, the company and what it produces was something Bulgaria hasn’t experienced before. It was a groundbreaking step into implementing robotics in the medical field. The AI mobility devices were unlike the many ones before, and people were slowly growing fonder of the idea.
Ups and Downs
Lyubomir found it hard to balance a happy home life and a newborn company. He did not want his company to stop at the Omnibot so he constantly jumped from project to project, and from Sofia to Vienna.
After the Omnibot venture, Lyubomir and Sylvia decided to move to Vienna, where the pavements and sidewalks are more disability-friendly. Sylvia’s condition was improving drastically as she could go to work independently, take a walk in the park, and go shopping all by herself. Lyubomir’s love for his wife was greater than anything in his life and thanks to his love and dedication, she can again feel free to move.
The Omnibot garnered a lot of attention in Bulgaria, as many senior citizens turned to the Omnibot for any kind of signs of improvement. In January of 2017, iRise Mechanics got its first nod of recognition when it raised €50,000 in a seed round. This meant that the good word about the Omnibot was heard throughout the world, and iRise Mechanics is here to rise to the occasion.
Two years after its initial start, iRise Mechanics raised €250,000 in funding. This successful milestone was put into bringing even more innovative inventions that will significantly improve the lives of disabled people.
Lyubomir couldn’t believe his ears when he heard that iRise Mechanics was awarded for being the Best Social Impact Startup. This meant that his entrepreneurship journey was worthwhile, as it truly makes a difference in the medical field.
The year 2020 wasn’t kind to anybody, but for the Vassilevs, it was especially the harshest, as he was separated from his loving family in Vienna. After working at two places at once, Lyubomir decided to move his work where his family is, and stayed in Vienna during the lockdown.
Lyubomir decided that the best thing to do about iRise Mechanics is to move the whole operation, team, and lab to Vienna. Vienna offered more opportunities for newbie startups, and the funding process went much smoother than in Sofia. Lyubomir wanted to finally shed light on his Omnibot, to a broader demographic of patients in need.
Before leaving Sofia, Lyubomir became an honorary member of the Good Boys Custom, the first-ever company in Bulgaria to produce robotic mobility devices.
iRise Mechanics, Today
Before securing its status as a groundbreaking, robotic, disability device company, iRise Mechanics had to jump off some pretty high hurdles. Besides struggling for recognition, Lyubomir’s company had to deal with competitors such as AgileLife Transfer and Mobility System, Adapt Solutions, and AutoChair, among others.
iRise Mechanics headquarters are still located in Lyubomir’s native Sofia, but he bounces from Vienna to Sofia a lot. The company has up to 10+ employees which are all experts in medical engineering.
Today, iRise Mechanics offers many different possibilities for disabled patients. They are currently working on a system that could trigger the gas and breaks of the patient’s car. This was another attempt at proving that people with disabilities can live normal, independent, and fulfilled lives.
Even though it caused him many sorrows, Lyubomir never forgot his love for extreme sports, so as a passionate motorbike lover, he formed an Adrenaline Dream Team, that will work on creating equal opportunities for motorbiking for people with disabilities. If it wasn’t for Lyubomir’s great admiration towards his wife, Bulgaria wouldn’t have seen its first robotic mobility devices helping disabled people. By staying true to himself and his loved ones, Lyubomir managed to turn what everyone thought to be the impossible into the possible.