Exoskeletons are demonstrably awesome, allowing humans to accomplish feats of strength beyond their normal capacity. The future is bright for the technology — not just for industrial and military applications, but especially in therapy and rehabilitation. Normally, one thinks of adults who have lost function in their limbs, but in the case of this exoskeleton, developed by The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), children with spinal muscular atrophy are given a chance to lead an active life.
Designing prosthetics for children can be difficult since they are constantly growing, and CSIC’s is designed to be telescopic to accommodate patients between the ages 3-14. Five motors in each leg adapt to the individual symptoms of the patient through sensors which detect the child’s intent to move and simulates what would be their natural walking gait.
The therapeutic effects of this unique exoskeleton are emphasized by CSIC, citing the psychological aspect of spinal muscular atrophy that has a further degenerative impact on the child’s life. It is currently in pre-clinical lab trials in Madrid and Barcelona to test the efficacy of the device. Combined with the marvel of 3D printing, advanced exoskeletal prosthetics for children — and adults — are rapidly approaching reality.