Menu
A smart exoskeleton can keep the elderly safe

A smart exoskeleton can keep the elderly safe

It can sense when wearers are losing their balance and quickly re-stabilize them

A team of Italian and Swiss researchers has developed a prototype exoskeleton that can prevent elderly people from falling. The device is wearable from the waist down and made of carbon fiber braces. These can be easily adjusted to the wearer by tightening a few nuts and bolts. 

exoskeleton Hillary Sanctuary / EPFL

A prototype of the exoskeleton at a rehabilitation center in Florence, Italy. 

Once the exoskeleton is fitted, it must first learn the specific walking patterns of the user, known as gait. The exoskeleton then uses an algorithm to detect deviations from the user's regular movement and recognize the onset of a fall.

To simulate a fall, researchers had 69-year-old volunteer, Fulvio Bertelli, walk on a treadmill designed to unexpectedly slide out from under him and make him lose his balance. When this happened, motors fitted to the exoskeleton pushed down on both of Bertelli's thighs to re-stabilized him. 

exoskeleton motors EPFL

Motors resting on the wearer's hips push down on the user's thighs to re-stabilize them. 

"Our study revealed that a wearable robotic platform can effectively interact with humans during reactive motor responses, such as accidental slipping," said Vito Monaco, an expert in locomotion biometrics. "These results open new perspectives for researchers who are expected to develop robotic platforms for enhancing human capabilities all day long.” 

Researchers say the next step is to create an exoskeleton that is more discrete and portable so that is can be used in real-life environments. The idea is that the exoskeleton can also be used by people who are physically impaired and by individuals suffering from neurological disorders. The results of the study are published in Scientific Reports.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30

Leading figures within the technology industry across New Zealand came together to celebrate 30 years of success for Lexel Systems, at a milestone birthday occasion at St Matthews in the City.​

Tech industry comes together as Lexel celebrates turning 30
HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch

HP New Zealand held an inaugural Evolve Education event at Aotea Centre in Auckland, welcoming over 70 principals, teachers and education experts to explore ways of shaping and enhancing learning using technology.

HP re-imagines education through Auckland event launch
Reseller News ICT Industry Awards 2017 - Meet the winners...

Reseller News ICT Industry Awards 2017 - Meet the winners...

Reseller News honoured the industry’s finest on a standout evening for the New Zealand channel, recognising the achievements of established and emerging partners on a memorable night in Auckland.

Reseller News ICT Industry Awards 2017 - Meet the winners...
Show Comments