Tagged with: assistive technology disablity exoskeleton robotics
The future is expected to provide medical miracles such as these robotic devices to help people with disabilities who use a wheelchair to be able to walk on their own. Here are five of those robotic medical miracles that are either available now or in the very near future.
Robot Suit HAL as seen at CES 2011
Image Credit: Cyberdyne
Japanese company Cyberdyne showed off its Robot Suit HAL cyborg at CES 2011 in Las Vegas. The person who wears “HAL” does not feel the weight of the suit since the suit supports its own weight. The cyborg suit senses nerve signals sent by the brain to the muscles and through the skin, directing the robotic cyborg suit to move along with the body. “HAL” also has a ‘robotic autonomous control system’ that provides human-like movement based on a robotic system which works together with the ‘autonomous control system’ and is expected to provide ADL support of people with disabilities. “HAL” may also be used for heavy labor in factories, as rescue support at disaster fields, and in rehabilitation support and physical training support in the the medical field.
Image Credit: Argo Medical Technologies
Rewalk is about torso control and was created by Argo Medical Technologies. It features stabilizing crutches, motorized gears that move the legs, and a computer-equipped backpack that holds a battery and powers the device for three to four hours. Motion sensors and onboard processing monitor the wearer’s upper-body movements and center of gravity. The device steps in the right direction when a person shifts his or her body. Rewalk will be available in early 2011 with an estimated cost of $130,000.
Image Credit: iWalk
The PowerFoot BiOM was developed by iWalk. This amazing prosthetic can sense the wearer’s position. It uses a motorized spring to push off the ground in a impressive imitatation of how the ankle, calf muscle, and Achilles tendon work. This results in a more natural gait and less pressure on the hips and back. PowerFoot BiOM is available now, but the cost is not publicly posted.
Image Credit: Rex Bionics
Rex Bionics created Rex to be unlike other exoskeletons. It does not require crutches or a backpack. Instead, two giant legs support and lift the wearer who controls the system with joysticks. Although it is bulkier than the other systems, it allows wearers to ascend steps and ramps. Rex is available now and costs $150,000
Image Credit: Berkley Bionics
eLegs were developed by Berkeley Bionics. The eLegs, attached with clips and Velcro straps, are motorized leg supports and foot sensors that enable paraplegics to move themselves between sitting and standing positions, walk in a straight line, and turn. If the wearer also uses crutches, it helps to stabilize the walker. Sensors in the foot pads tell the supports how to flex the knees in a natural manner, allowing wearers to move over all kinds of different terrain. The system draws power from batteries carried in a backpack. eLegs are expected to become available in mid-2011 and come with price tag estimated at $100,000.
Do you suppose any of these might be 99% covered by insurance?