SuitX Cheap Medical Exoskeleton

The SuitX medical exoskeleton is relatively cheap - $40,000 is getting us closer to providing more disabled people with a way to get around.


(SuitX exoskeleton just $40,000)

A battery pack worn as a backpack powers the exoskeleton for up to eight hours. An app can be used to track the patient’s walking data. SuitX has mainly worked with patients with spinal cord injuries, who can use the Phoenix to walk again.

The technology behind SuitX’s industrial and medical exoskeleton originated at the University of California, Berkeley, Robotics and Human Engineering Laboratory...

Steven Sanchez (above) travels the world with SuitX demoing the Phoenix exoskeleton. A picture above the entrance to the company’s office features Sanchez, standing upright, smiling in front of the Colosseum in Rome. But during an evening in late January, he was just interested in the chance to extend and stretch his body.

Standing is an essential exercise for Sanchez if he wants to avoid sores and other injuries. Before Phoenix, he was training to kill the nerves in his hands so he could spend more time supporting his body’s weight while walking with crutches.

The custom carbon-fiber orthotics that hold the Phoenix to his body just look like braces. The device’s movements make no noise. The most noticeable part of the getup is the crutches. The Phoenix still needs too much maintenance for Sanchez to take one home, but he’s hopeful that SuitX will give him a unit someday.

As far as I know, the first reference to a medical exoskeleton in science fiction, and maybe anywhere, can be found in Fritz Lieber's 1968 novel A Specter is Haunting Texas;

[The] man was standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates. From the outer edge of each rose a narrow titanium T-beam that followed the line of his leg, with a joint (locked now) at the knee, up to another joint with a titanium pelvic girdle and shallow belly support. From the back of this girdle a T-spine rose to support a shoulder yoke and rib cage, all of the same metal. The rib cage was artistically slotted to save weight, so that curving strips followed the line of each of his very prominent ribs.
(Read more about the titanium exoskeleton)

Via Technology Review.

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