Trio creates exoskeleton to help paraplegics walk again.
Three young Canadians have built a lightweight, relatively inexpensive exoskeleton that attaches to the outside of the leg and is powered by a backpack battery. Their company, Active Bionics, received an award from Awesome Ottawa and plans to unveil the exoskeleton at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto later this summer.
With their re-envisioning of an old technology, three young Ottawans are walking the robotics industry straight into the future, one step at a time.
The invention is called an exoskeleton and it has the ability to help those with mobility issues – like paraplegics – walk on their own again.
And it took just over a year-and-a-half for creators Sean Horn, Dmitry Klishch and Katya Cogan – now known as Active Bionics Inc. – to develop the exoskeleton to where it is now, the mark 4 level.
“Many of what’s on the market now is mostly for military and only recently started moving into the rehabilitation market because they’re so expensive and often are priced at about $70,000 or even more,” said Sean Horn, CEO of Active Bionics Inc. “So we thought we could probably create one that is cheaper and easy to take on and off.”
The machine works by attaching and securing the exoskeleton to the outer part of the legs. The battery is carried in a backpack carried by the wearer. Once turned on, the exoskeleton supports the wearer and leads their legs to where the person wants to go. If they should lose balance and begin to fall over, the machine will lock, keeping the person firmly standing and in place.
The group’s goal is to make an exoskeleton that is consumer friendly, affordable and lightweight in a market that is projected to reach $2.1 billion in the next couple of years.
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