The Founders’ Story

Headshot of Ashish Desphande, PhD

Ashish Deshpande, PhD

Dr. Deshpande received his doctorate in Mechanical
Engineering from the University of Michigan and completed his
postdoc in Robotics at the University of Washington. He always
had a passion for robotics, but it was his sister, a therapist
specializing in after stroke care, that helped him see how much
opportunity exists in the field of neurorehabilitation. After
seeing how hard his sister worked and her devotion to providing
the best possible care, Dr. Deshpande knew that with the right
technology, vast improvements could be made for both
patients and clinicians alike.

In 2016, Dr. Deshpande was an Assistant Professor at
the University of Texas at Austin and Dr. Youngmok Yun was a
PhD student of his. Together, they decided to develop a new,
more efficient rehabilitation solution for patients suffering from
upper body movement disorders.

Youngmok Yun, PhD

While studying for his PhD and working with Dr. Deshpande, Dr.
Yun was able to observe the clinical potential of the robotic
rehabilitation technology they were developing. Shortly after,
Dr. Yun interviewed hundreds of potential customers to find its
commercial feasibility through Innovation Corps’ (I-Corps™)
Southwest Regional program with the National Science
Foundation (NSF). And in 2016, when Dr. Deshpande and Dr.
Yun presented a prototype of the company’s flagship product,
Harmony SHR, they were one of very few companies selected to
advance on to the prestigious national program. Harmonic
Bionics, Inc. was officially formed that year after receiving very
positive feedback from several potential customers.

In 2018, Harmonic Bionics was then awarded with a Small
Business Innovation Research Grant from the NSF along with a
Partnerships for Innovation Grant in 2019.

Headshot of Youngmok Yun, PhD

Christopher Prentice

Christopher Prentice

Christopher is a West Point graduate with a master’s degree in Business Administration, as well as Healthcare Administration. He has over 25 years of medical device experience in both large strategic healthcare companies and successful startup companies. A lot of Christopher’s time has been spent specifically with robotic companies seeking high growth by increasing the adoption of technology that challenges the status quo. So, when Dr. Deshpande and Dr. Yun were looking for a leader to provide strategy and direction, Christopher was an obvious choice.

Prior to his most recent position at Medtronic, he was CEO of Mazor Robotics, Inc. and Chief Commercial Officer of Mazor Robotics Ltd., companies that were acquired by Medtronic in December 2018. In early 2019, Christopher was connected to Harmonic Bionics through a Mazor Robotics board member that had a friend working with Dr. Deshpande and Dr. Yun. They met in February 2019 and he eventually accepted an offer to join as CEO and founding team member in August 2019.

Want to See Harmony in Action?

Check out our video library to learn more about Harmony SHR and the impact our technology is having on patients and others in the rehab community.