World’s First Kid-Sized Exoskeleton Helps Children Walk

The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has introduced an exoskeleton for children with spinal muscular atrophy that will help young patients walk for up to five hours. The exoskeleton consists of long support rods that fit around the user's legs and torso that can be adjusted as the child grows.


The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has introduced an exoskeleton for children with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative illness that affects 1 in 10,000 babies in Spain. The CSIC exoskeleton is still in the pre-clinical phase, but the developers hope to someday make it available to hospitals and other medical facilities.

The 26-pound exoskeleton (seems heavy for an infant), which is built from aluminum and titanium, will help young patients walk for up to five hours. The exoskeleton consists of long support rods that fit around the user’s legs and torso that can be adjusted as the child grows.

The exoskeleton also has five motors in each leg that mimic human muscles, helping the child stand and move. The users have direct control over all five motors, to detect the slightest intent of muscle movement and responds accordingly. The exoskeleton also features sensors and a movement controller.

“The No. 1 drawback in developing this type of pediatric exoskeleton is that the symptoms of neuromuscular illness - such as spinal muscular atrophy - change over time,” Elena Garcia, senior researcher at the Automatics and Robotics Center in Madrid, said in a statement.

“That’s why it’s fundamental to have an exoskeleton capable of independently adapting to these changes,” she continued. “Our model includes intelligence joints which alter the brace’s rigidity automatically and adapt to the symptoms of each individual child at whenever required.”

Podcast: How to Bring Affordable Exoskeletons to Those in Need

ReWalk Robotics recently partnered with the Wyss Institute to expedite development of Wyss’ lightweight, soft exosuit. This is an interesting partnership as the two companies have taken a much different approach to designing exoskeletons. ReWalk’s exoskeletons feature the typical bulky backpack, while the Wyss Institute designed its exosuit with soft materials woven into a piece of smart clothing and pulled up like a pair of pants.

[Source:] PC World




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




Comments



Log in to leave a Comment



Editors’ Picks

10 Best Robots & Drones of CES 2017
Here are the best robots and drones from CES 2017.

Weaponized Drones a Concern at Presidential Inauguration
Drones are never allowed in Washington, D.C., but the FAA and...

Tesla Crashes Down 40% with Autopilot, Feds Say
The US government exonerates Tesla for the May 2016 fatal accident that killed...

AI Now Predicts Heart Failure
Artificial intelligence can now predict when patients with a heart disorder will...