The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has built the prototype of what it claims to be the world’s first assistive child exoskeleton designed to improve the movement of children born with the rare, degenerative illness, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA reportedly affects 1 in 10,000 babies born in Spain.
Constructed of lightweight aluminum and titanium, the innovative 26-pound device enables children to walk, oftentimes for the very first time. The child exoskeleton is constructed of long adjustable support rods that conform to the child’s legs and torso. A pair of “servo motors” power the joints and imitate the exertion of human muscles. This allows enough support for the child to stand upright and walk.
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Multiple sensors are tapped into an onboard computer to that tracks the child’s steps and creates the “smoothest mechanical gait possible.” Equipped with telescoping supports, the device allows the mechanism to adjust as a child grows in height.