The father of a young man who suffers from a genetic neurological disease that makes it impossible for him to walk built a exoskeleton That controls through voice, so that you can move around and leave the wheelchair.
The positive thing about this action is that, in addition to getting Oscar Constanza, his son, to walk again, the model had many interested parties, since unlike the other models, this leaves your hands free, which is considered a true innovation in the field.
The father, named Jean-Louis Constanza, who was in charge of the project and assembly, is a French engineer who, for years, specializes in robotics and is also one of the founders of the Wandercraft firm.
The 16-year-old teenager suffers from a genetic neurological disease that causes your nerves not sending enough electrical signals to your legs, which prevents you from moving your feet.
And what seemed obvious now, was not so when the young man was ten years old. “One day Oscar said to me ‘since you’re a robotics engineer, why don’t you make a suit that allows me to walk’?” Recalls Jean-Louis.
For five years, carried out tests with a prototype of the structure in patients from different rehabilitation clinics. After achieving complete freedom of movement for people with total paralysis of the trunk and lower extremities, they adjusted the design to create a self-balancing exoskeleton, which they christened Atalante.
One of the benefits of the self-balancing exoskeleton is that it is built for intuitive use. Namely, sessions are optimized and preparation times are reduced, so that the focus is completely on the therapy.
Rigid but stable
To preserve the rigidity of the structure, without having to link the hands to the chassis, the expert managed to tie the skeleton to the shoulders, chest, waist, knees and feet of the young man.
The attractive thing about this robotic equipment is that it has voice recognition functions. At the order “Robot, get up” the frame attached to his body stands up and begins with the first steps.
“Before I needed someone to help me walk, but this makes me feel independent,” admits Oscar.
The exoskeletons for workers, which increase the strength in the legs and arms.
The design has been so successful that it has sold dozens of units to hospitals in France, Luxembourg and the United States, for about $ 176,000 per unit.
The firm does not have an exoskeleton for personal use, since the current one has a weight and volume not recommended for home travel or other spaces that are not hospitals.
However, the founders are working on a version that adapts to the needs of all people with motor disabilities and can be left by their beds.
Exoskeletons have certain qualities that help therapists and people with disabilities to improve their movements. In addition, it allows users to move the trunk and legs without having to use their hands or other elements.
Many companies are making exoskeletons, competing to make them the lightest and most comfortable. Some focus on helping people with disabilities to walk, others on helping people factory workers have greater resistance in arms and legs.