In rehabilitation clinics, robotic exoskeletons have helped patients with walking impairments regain strength and mobility for years. Now Wandercraft, the French company that created the first autonomous walking exoskeleton, has a design underway for a new model that individuals can use in their daily lives. People with reduced mobility can provide input on the design by filling out a survey on the Wandercraft website.
Wandercraft’s clinical model, Atalante, allows wheelchair users and patients with mobility impairment due to stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, and other health conditions to walk without crutches. The consumer model plans include a slimmer, sleeker design that is more agile — and affordable — than the clinical product.
To ensure the new exoskeleton functions well for personal use, Wandercraft is encouraging individuals to participate in the survey. Potential users who complete the survey can weigh in on the mechanics and appearance of the new personal exoskeleton. It also canvases for factors such as anticipated indoor vs. outdoor use, current level of physical activity, and transportation preferences.
Designed to enhance early, intensive rehabilitation, the self-balancing Atalante minimizes the mental and physical burden of therapy on the patient. At the same time, it encourages neuroplasticity while promoting muscle strength and endurance. Patient control of the device while standing, sitting, walking, and steering feels intuitive. The robot features adjustable assistance levels and customizable walking and effort profiles.
Prototype images of the consumer product depict an exoskeleton that fits closely along the lower body, with a smaller profile and a more ergonomic look than the Atalante. It’s likely to improve on features such as pivoting radius and responsiveness while focusing on comfort and ease of use. Wandercraft intends to create a product that potentially enables users to walk comfortably in public and move around easily in their homes so that improved mobility that feels natural becomes a part of their everyday experience.