After more than a decade of research and testing, the first pediatric exoskeleton the world has received the CE mark, a ‘passport’ that guarantees compliance with EU directives and will allow this robotic device to move from laboratories and clinical trials to hospitals and rehabilitation clinics.
The exoskeleton, which helps children affected by spinal muscular atrophy and cerebral palsy walk, has been developed by Elena Garcia Armada, researcher at the Center for Automation and Robotics (CAR) of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) and co-founder of the company Marsi Bionics.
The granting of the European certificate to the pediatric exoskeleton ATLAS 2030 was announced yesterday at the headquarters of Marsi Bionics, in Madrid, and was attended by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Pedro Duque; the president of the CSIC, Rosa Menendez, and Elena García Armada, as head of the project.
The clinical success of ATLAS lies in its technological innovation, since its 10 joints have the ability to interpret the child’s intention of movement in a non-invasive way and respond to this intention at each step.
Elena García Armada, researcher at the Center for Automation and Robotics and co-founder of Marsi Bionics
According to García Armada “the clinical success of ATLAS lies in its technological innovation, since its 10 joints have the ability to interpret the movement intention non-invasively and respond to this intention at every step. “
It also “allows you to work passively, generating a gait pattern specific for each patient. This makes it possible to carry out comprehensive muscle therapy in a playful way with the child and the family that is much more motivating and effective, “adds this engineer.
During its development and multiple clinical trials in reference hospitals, its intensive use has been shown to achieve delay all complications Musculoskeletal associated with spinal muscular atrophy and cerebral palsy.
Help the patient to walk
The CE marking will allow ATLAS 2030, of 12 kilos of weight and made of aluminum and titanium, continue to fulfill its function of helping the patient to walk, in some cases for the first time, to attenuate or delay muscle atrophy., says the CSIC in a statement.
The distinctive is to confirm a success of the knowledge transfer. The project was born as an investigation in the CAR of the CSIC and the firm Marsi Bionics has been the vehicle for its development, checking its clinical utility and putting it on the market
The distinctive also means confirming a success of the process of knowledge transfer. This project was born as an investigation in the CAR of the CSIC and the firm Marsi Bionics has been the vehicle for its development, to verify its clinical utility and to put it on the market. This closes a virtuous circle where public research ends up achieving a milestone as important as the commercialization of the world’s first infant exoskeleton, say those responsible.
García Armada highlighted the importance of this historic day both for his company and for families with children with neuromuscular pathologies: “We are not only talking about the milestone of being pioneers in the application of the robotic technology to children but our success is fundamentally because we will be able to be useful and help to have a better life for 17 million children in the world ”.
An adaptable technology
Spinal muscular atrophy is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that affects one in every 10,000 babies in Spain. The loss of strength associated with the disease prevents children from walking and, as a result, they develop complications such as scoliosis, osteoporosis, and respiratory failure.
To combat the effects of the disease, the ATLAS 2030 exoskeleton has motors in its 10 joints that mimic muscle function human and provide the patient with the strength required to stand.
The structure consists of long supports, called orthoses, that adapt to the child’s legs and trunk without the need for chest control. This allows the patient move in all directionsEither by interpreting and responding to the movement that the patient wants to perform or by reproducing a specific gait pattern set for each child. This robotic therapy can accompany the pediatric patient in his recovery between four and ten years.
“The main difficulty in developing this type of pediatric exoskeleton is that the symptoms of neuromuscular diseases vary over time both in the joints and in the body as a whole. That is why an exoskeleton is necessary able to adapt these variations autonomously ”, explains the researcher.
Rights: Creative Commons.