Where are They Now: 2017 ASU Innovation Open Winner, Somatic Labs

Monday, April 2, 2018 1:23 pm MST

All startup success stories are great, but the journey begun by Somatic Labs CEO Shantanu Bala, at the age of just 15, has been particularly inspiring. As a teen, Bala began researching assistive technologies for individuals who are visually or hearing impaired. Last April, the haptic communications platform developed by Somatic Labs was announced as the $100,000 winner of the ASU Innovation Open, a startup challenge sponsored by the ASU and Avnet. As a participant in Avnet’s Innovation Lab on the ASU campus, Somatic received an additional $10,000 from Avnet to help scale and develop their technology.

Since then, Phoenix-based Somatic Labs has been quite busy, they have been selected as one of the top three innovators at the 2018 @NASA iTech Forum, they won the @AlphaLabGear Hardware Cup Southern Regional challenge, and they joined the TechStars accelerator program.

The Somatic team also released the Zorb Platform, which provides development and creation tools for evaluation and integration of haptic feedback into existing products and systems. The Zorb platform includes a software development kit, firmware engine and design studio.

To learn more about the Somatic Labs journey, visit

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