Expandable Child Exoskeleton Allows Disabled Kids to Walk
Exoskeletons have been around for a little while, but they have mostly been seen in aging workforces or for achieving superhuman strength. However, one company has developed a child-sized exoskeleton that can bring mobility to kids with disabilities. The expandable robotic skeleton will fit kids from 3-years to 14-years, aimed at helping children diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. Spanish researchers at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) created the device modeled after human muscles. A series of motors and sensors sense the intended movement of patients and react accordingly. Check out the video of the exoskeleton in action below.
Part of what makes this 26-pound device so inspiring is that it is helping many kids experience the feeling of walking for the very first time. Other than simply helping kids to walk, the act of moving also helps prevent scoliosis in the kids, according to Gizmodo. For now, this exoskeleton is only in the research and development phase and is staying in select hospitals, but the team hopes to refine it, allowing patients to wear it home. The walking movement will help lower the risk of infection in kids with spinal muscular atrophy according to the CSIC, as well.
[Image Source: CISC]
Both therapy and improved quality of life are the goals of this device, and this type of engineering could make a huge difference in the thousands of kids diagnosed with the disease across the world. Currently, 2 hospitals in Spain are testing the skeleton under clinical trials, and the team is hopeful that the therapeutic effects of the device will be proven.