Saudi: 21-yr-old Hyderabadi CEO bags 1st place in Microsoft Imagine Cup

Hyderabad: A 21-year-old Saudi Arabia based Hyderabad man and founder of V-Bionic along with his team has bagged the first place in Microsoft’s 2022 Imagine Cup World Championship. 

V-Bionic, led by Zain Ahmed Samdani, won for ExoHeal, a modular exoskeletal hand rehabilitation device that utilizes neuroplasticity and Azure technology to help patients with neurological damage recover faster, at a fraction of the price of other options. 

V-Bionic team members include— 

  • Zain Ahmed Samdani (CEO) Germany; 
  • Faria Zubair (Head of Design) Saudi Arabia; 
  • Asfia Jabeen (Operations and community engagement) Saudi Arabia; 
  • Ramin Udash (App Developer) Germany; 
  • Zubair Ahmed (Advisor) Saudi Arabia 
V-Bionic team

It is reported that the 20th Microsoft Imagine Cup has attracted tens of thousands of students from more than 160 regions. 

MS Education Academy

On March 31, 2022, V-Bionic competed in the Global Finals with the top 16 teams from the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region. There, they took first place in both the Health and General Ranking category and qualified for the World Championships in Seattle, USA. In the finals, they competed against two teams from the Americas and Asia, taking first place after a pitch and question-and-answer session. 

The team won $50,000 in Azure credits, a $100,000 cash prize, and a mentoring session with Microsoft Chairman and CEO, Satya Nadella. 

The ExoHeal glove is a mechanical exoskeleton that can be worn by patients with nerve damage leading to hand movement problems. 

Early tests show that the glove can help patients recover faster. Although there is still a lot of work in the medical device certification process, they are working on their final clinical trials this year. 

Exoskeleton (Photo: Supplied)

It is worth noting that although Zain is still a student, he has been deeply involved in robotics research and development for many years. On the other hand, the rest of the team members are still in the early stages of their careers in the interest of the industry. 

Zain was born in Hyderabad, India and brought up in Saudi Arabia. He’s now studying robotics and Intelligent systems at Jacobs University, Germany. 

During a family vacation in 2015, Zain met his distant maternal uncle for the first time. Zain was shocked to see him partially paralysed due to a stroke; he could barely respond and was unable to even lift a spoon. 

Speaking about the Exoheal, Zain over a phone call with said, “After using ExoHeal’s therapy, patients felt sensations in their paralyzed hand on the very first day! Weeks or months faster than traditional therapyqa.” 

“This achievement is a huge step in realizing our vision to help paralyzed patients have affordable, faster and accessiblae rehabilition.”

ExoHeal glove (Photo: Supplied)

Zain’s interest in Robotics began when he was 5-year-old seeing his mother tirelessly taking care of household chores, having no leisure time for herself the spark to build a robot that could help her ignited in his mind. His mother since then dubbed him as her “little scientist” and kept him motivated. His father was a genuine help and encouraged him for his projects in robotics when he built a 3D printed prosthesis for amputees and later the Robotic 3D printed Exoskeletons. 

“My parents have been the backbone for all of my entrepreneurial endorse and change making efforts. If it weren’t for their support I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Zain told

He further added, I am grateful to Almighty Allah for this achievement and I cannot thank enough all the family and friends who were my supporters and the honorable International platforms who encouraged me today like they did for my other achievements. 

Other achievements

We Are Family Foundation— Global Teen Leader— 2019
Second best project— Adi Shankara Young Scientist Award— 2019
Spark Innovation Award – Dr. K.V Rao Scientic Society— 2019
First best project— CBSE Cluster Science Expo 2017
IRIS National Fair 2017— Grand Award
Adi Shankara Young Scientist Award 2017— Encouragement award
A. S. Kiran Kumar— Chairman ISRO
Google Science Fair 2016— Global finalist
Sundar Pichai— CEO Google
MiSK Hackathon 2016— $10,000
Second best project— CBSE Cluster Science Expo 2015
Suntop Star of The Year— 2015
Blindfolded Spray Painting
Tricks Robotics Competition 2014— Best International Performance
2nd Faber Castel Drawing Conpetition— 2012
SunTop Star of The Year 2012

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