Columbia University

Technology Ventures

The American Bionics Project: Promoting Revolutionary Technology for the Physically Disabled

February 20, 2018
Steven Galeazzi
Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio - Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive, Room 430
New York, NY
When we know the debilitating physical and mental effects of a sedentary lifestyle, why do we condemn millions of people every year to wheelchairs? Is it because we, as a society, have accepted it as “normal?” Or, is it because more advanced solutions are too hard, or too expensive? What if we could make wheelchairs a thing of the past. There is a significant gap between the needs of physically disabled populations in the United States and the solutions available to meet those needs. Promising technologies exist, either in labs or as early stage ventures, but the rate of innovation in this space is painfully slow due to a limited investment pipeline committed to disability-related technology and related biomechanical solutions. This lack of investment (and subsequent lack of rapid innovation) stems from traditional funding sources not seeing the large profit potential necessary to justify adding such investments to their portfolios. What if disabled technologies can be profitable, even while helping those in need? What if they can be designed not only to serve the disabled, but also to spur innovation for broader consumer markets? By providing early stage funding and business advisement, The American Bionics Project will serve as the catalyst for advanced technologies and medical solutions designed to promote full, active, healthy lives for those suffering from physical disabilities. 
Areas for Discussion
How do we change the way people think about nonprofits? Why don’t nonprofits function like startups in Silicon Valley? What are the areas of intersection between the broader commercial market and disabled technology? What should be the investment criteria for innovative assistive and adaptive technology? 
Speaker Biography
Steven Galeazzi is the founder of the American Bionics Project, a nonprofit dedicated to revolutionizing technology for the physically disabled. Ever since he was young, Steve has been passionate about service to others, but when his younger brother lost both of his legs during a deployment to Afghanistan, the nature of that service evolved into a calling. Steve is a former Captain in the US Army, serving as an intelligence officer in Latin America and Afghanistan. His professional experience ranges from management consulting to startups and private healthcare. Steve’s education includes a BBA from Loyola University in Maryland, an MBA from Columbia University, and an MA from New York University. In his spare time, Steve can be found seeking outdoor adventure, trying new recipes in the kitchen, or traveling to places that make his mom worry.