An exoskeleton for children with walking disabilities, awarded by the European Patent Office (EPO).
Disability research is ongoing. For example, on June 21, 2022, the Spanish scientist Elena García Armada received the European Inventor People’s Choice Award 2022 for her adaptable exoskeleton, which enables severely disabled children to walk. His invention follows his meeting with Daniela, a young girl who has become immobilized after a car accident.
“The public vote is fundamental to Elena García Armada as it recognizes the determination, ingenuity and contribution of this inventor who has been able to apply her experience and expertise in robotics and health technology to improve the lives of many children says António Campinos, President of the European Patent Office. ” His invention enables the experience of walking during rehabilitation for children who would not be able to without this device. It offers hope to many parents and healthcare professionals »
What is the invention of Elena García Armada:
It is a series of intelligent mechanical joints that enable children with disabilities to walk almost freely.
While exoskeletons for adults appeared in the 1960s, no one had developed one for children until Elena García Armada addressed the problem in 2009. However, the need for such a device was evident as young people in wheelchairs are at greater risk of developing muscular spinal deformities at an early age, which can shorten their life expectancy.
Elena García Armada realized that the challenge was bigger than just adapting robotics to a smaller body. Because children are often unable to walk due to neurological conditions and have complex symptoms related to joint movement, a pediatric exoskeleton had to be adaptable and adapted to each child’s symptoms.
After becoming interested in industrial robotics, Elena García Armada turned to pediatrics and invented an adjustable titanium suit connected to a battery and a network of small motors with sensors, software and machines. These elements work together as mechanical joints that adapt to the body and amplify slight movements while adapting to each child’s movement as they are rehabilitated. The exoskeleton allows children in wheelchairs to walk during their rehabilitation sessions, which reduces muscle wasting and medical complications, and can also improve psychological well-being and socializing.
In 2013, Elena García Armada performed her first experiments with Daniela, whose face lit up when she started walking with the exoskeleton. In the same year she founded marsi bionics, to further develop this technology. In 2021, she received approval to use her invention in rehabilitation centers and hospitals in Spain and has since been able to deliver her first exoskeletons to medical centers in Spain and Mexico. Even as the company grows, it never loses sight of the original inspiration for its invention. Elena García Armada says: “ My team and I draw all our energy from the children’s smiles.”.
Watch the demo video
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