Wearable Robotics to improve walking or prevent falls
Injuries to the spinal cord can lead to some extent of paralysis, causing permanent paralysis to a body region. In recent years, medical exoskeletons have attracted global attention to the possibility of being able to walk again.
A wearable robot unit or exoskeleton, powered by a system of electric motors, is an external frame that can be worn to support the body that primarily helps people regain and strengthen their movements. The robot replaces or improves a body function that has suffered damage, or it is a training tool to allow patients and seniors to move again. Read on to learn more about how bionics and exoskeletons are benefiting patients suffering from paralysis.
Wearable robotics to tackle loss of mobility
Enter the bionic exoskeleton – Designed to help patients stand and walk during rehabilitation, EksoNR works with clinicians to give the necessary support to the spine, trunk, and legs including hip, knee, and ankle joints promoting correct movement patterns in all phases of physical rehabilitation and challenging patients as they progress towards walking out of the EksoNR rehabilitation setting and back into their communities. Originally designed for spinal cord injured (SCI) patients, the bionic exoskeleton now caters to people with strokes, acquired brain injuries (ABI), and multiple sclerosis (MS). Such patients often suffer lower limb disability and loss of movement, but with the help of a wearable exoskeleton, they can begin to get out of their wheelchairs, balance with the use of an assistive device, regain sensation and function, and often learn to walk again.
Mr Bah: Detect & prevent falls, walking and standing support
A wearable assistive robot that can detect and prevent falls, especially among the elderly was developed by researchers at Nanyang Technological University and Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Named Mr Bah, short for Mobile Robotic Balance Assistant (MRBA), the wearable assistive robot can detect and prevent a fall, walk and assist the user in standing. It has built-in sensors to detect a loss of balance and catches the user with the attached safety harness that is worn around the hips. The MRBA will also be helpful to users who face challenges in walking as well as having balancing problems in standing up safely from a seated position and vice versa.
Above: Singapore’s latest robot helps the elderly to exercise and can prevent falls Hyundai Motor Group’s latest exoskeleton wearable robot, Vest Exoskeleton (VEX)
The H-MEX (Hyundai Medical EXoskeleton)
The H-MEX (Hyundai Medical EXoskeleton) helps patients with lower spinal cord injuries regain the ability to walk. By utilizing a wireless clutch with onboard motion control system, the equipment gives paraplegics the ability to sit, stand, move, turn and even walk up or down stairs.
Watch a story of Korean para-athlete and archer Jun-beom Park taking his second first steps toward his parents, aided by Hyundai Motor’s wearable robotics technology:
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