Touch Bionics, Livingston, Scotland, announced on March 16 that its founder, director of research, and non-executive director, David Gow, was stepping down from the business in order to concentrate on his expanding role within the South-east Mobility and Rehabilitation Technology (SMART) Centre, Edinburgh, which is part of National Health Service (NHS) Lothian, a branch of NHS Scotland. According to the Scottish newspaper The Herald, Hugh Gill, the company’s current director of technology and operations, will assume Gow’s former responsibilities.
As the founder and original inventor of the concepts that resulted in the i-LIMB Hand, Gow set the course for the company that, in early 2003, was the first company to be spun out from the Scottish National Health Service, becoming the first Scottish Health Innovations Ltd. (SHIL) spin-out company to receive significant funding.
According to Touch Bionics, in the late 1980s Gow began in earnest to work on developing electronic upper-limb components, including shoulders, wrists and hands. In 1993, he pioneered a powered partial-hand system that received international publicity. In 1998, his Edinburgh Modular Arm System (EMAS), the world’s first electrically powered shoulder system, garnered even more notoriety. In 2000, positive benefits demonstrated by children who had been fitted with the partial-hand system-which became the ProDigits system-was a catalyst for the decision to set up Touch Bionics.
Gow commented, “I have immensely enjoyed my time with Touch Bionics and look forward to even greater strides by the company in the field of upper-limb prosthetics.” He continued, “It was really in 2005, with funding from existing and new investors, including Archangel Informal Investments and the Scottish Co-investment Fund, that we started the commercialization of my ideas-it’s very rewarding to have over 500 users from all over the world wearing an i-LIMB Hand.”
In his expanding role within NHS Lothian, Gow will serve as head of SMART Services, where he will manage strategic service change and modernization of mobility, prosthetic, and bioengineering services for southeast Scotland.
Stuart Mead, CEO of Touch Bionics, said, “We wish David every success with his continued work in the fields of prosthetics and patient care. David and I have shared some exciting and rewarding times and our ever-expanding team will continue to build upon his pioneering work.”