Adjustable Kid-sized Exoskeleton [video]


Kid-sized exoskeleton with video 600x274

Most exoskeletons, existing and in development, are for adults. Growing children obviously change their size, particularly in the length of their limbs, and anyone who has raised children to their teenage years knows that growth spurts can cause rapid change. A Spanish research group has recently announced an exoskeleton design that accommodates growth.

The Superior Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), working in partnership with technology company Marsi Bionics, is developing an exoskeleton specifically for children with Type 2 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative disease that affects 1 in 10,000 children in Spain. The Muscular Dystrophy Association describes SMA as “a genetic disease affecting the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement.” There are numerous varieties of SMA that are dependent on genetic factors, which can result in a wide range of symptoms.

There are, however, three types of SMA defined by when the condition is diagnosed. Type 1, diagnosed with a couple of months of birth, is the most severe and survival past 18 months is rare. Type 2 is diagnosed between 7 and 18 months; this is the group for with the CSIC exoskeleton is being developed, because otherwise they likely will never walk, with resultant muscle development, respiratory, and other health problems. Patients with Type 2 can reach adulthood, though their lifespan is often affected by other health conditions that are secondary to the SMA. With Type 3 SMA, diagnosed after 18 months to adulthood, live expectancy is about average for all adults, although quality of life is generally compromised and they will typically lose the ability to walk by adolescence.

The CSIC exoskeleton is designed with telescoping components so it will fit children from 3 to 14 years. There are five engines in each leg. SMA is a degenerative, genetic disease, which means even with exercise and therapy the muscles will atrophy. The bionics element of the exoskeleton senses changes in the child’s own muscles and adjusts the amount of assistance provided. The only reason that 3 years is the minimum age is that it is difficult to train younger children to use and control the exoskeleton.

With the CSIC exoskeleton some children are able to walk for the first time. Using it can be beneficial to quality and enjoyment of life as well as therapeutic in helping to counter the muscle degeneration.

See the Light and the Color with Glasses for Color Blindness [video]

EnChroma with video 600x274

Red-green color blindness is the most common form of color blindness. One in every 12 men with European ancestry reading this article are likely to have red-green color blindness, but only about 1 in 200 women, according to the National Eye Institute. The difference is because there’s something in the X chromosome that can cause […]

Continue reading...

3D Printed Prosthetic Hands and Arms [video]

Open Bionics Arm with video 600x271

This is a story about what enthusiasts from a variety of fields can accomplish when they work together. In this case, they are on the path to disrupt the prosthetic industry. What do you get when you combine video game players, game publishers, robotics experts, and a hardware manufacturer, with a little help from Marvel, Disney, and […]

Continue reading...

Touchless Vital Sign Monitoring [video]

Philips contactless monitoring with video 600x274

  Ordinarily on Health Tech Insider, we write about new or emerging technology related to health or medical application that you wear, carry, hold, sometimes ingest, and occasionally have implanted. This is not one of those articles. In fact, the appeal of this technology is that it not only doesn’t touch you, but it can […]

Continue reading...

Help Kids Prevent “Tech Neck” or “Gameboy Disease” [video]

Eye Forcer with video 600x275

  Kids hunched over phones and tablets aren’t just a common sight; it sometimes seems like it’s the only view you get of kids unless they’re running up and down a playing field. Bad neck posture can result in neck and back pain. Over time it can lead to painful and unhealthy spinal curvature and […]

Continue reading...

Exoskeleton Provides Assist for Soldiers and Seniors

SRI SuperFlex 600x279

Soon people with mobility challenges and people with injuries requiring rehabilitation may get assistance from a suit originally developed for soldiers for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The original Warrior Web program was designed to enhance soldier performance, reduce the risk of injury, and enable soldiers to carry additional weight. SRI International, […]

Continue reading...

Wrist Band Aims to Reduce Anxiety for Autistic Patients

Awake Labs Reveal 600x273

According to Awake Labs, one out of 68 people in the U.S. have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASF). It’s referred to as a spectrum because of the wide range of symptoms and severity. One factor people with ASD have in common, however, is trouble coping with anxiety. In children and adults with ASD, when emotional triggers […]

Continue reading...

Smart Walker Tracks Gait and Much More

Siemens Friwalk 2 600x272

Siemens Corporate Technology in conjunction with the EU ACANTO (A CyberphysicAl social NeTwOrk) is developing a high-tech walker for the elderly. Called the FriWalk (for Friendly Robot Walker), the device has several functions to enhance the health and well-being of elderly people. Designed primarily for gait analysis that can yield a lot of health data, the FriWalk […]

Continue reading...

Smart Textile Market Poised to Grow Rapidly

This vintage fabric has lots of texture and highlights! Great for backgrounds packaging advertising electronic display websites etc.!

As wearables find more traction in the marketplace — especially for health and medical applications — they will continue to “disappear” into our daily lives. One key development that will make this possible is the advent of “smart fabrics.” With conductors and even electronic components woven directly into textiles, we will have clothing that can […]

Continue reading...

Wearable Tech May Predict Asthma Attacks

het-asthma-warning-1 600x279

For many people, the coming and going of various allergy “seasons” can be periodic annoyances. For asthmatics, however, attacks can be debilitating and traumatic, especially when attacks come by surprise. According to the latest (2014) figures on asthma prevalence from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.7% of Americans suffer from asthma, […]

Continue reading...