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Description

Presenter: John Byrne

Slides: presentation, pdf


Notes

  • Much of the research coming form the US military (for rehab) and from Japan
    • In Japan it is due to their aging population.
      • Japan is depopulating at a fast rate
      • Large investment to do more work with a smaller population
  • Interested in how exoskeletons can enhance independence
  • battery life tends to max out at about 4hrs for now, but batteries are continuously improving
  • rehab vs everyday use
    • some products are exclusively for rehab
      • need to be used in a rehab environment with a trained physiotherapist
      • these are the most expensive
        • range from $40k to $250k
      • in most cases you'd need to still use some form of support (e.g. walker) while using the device
      • they tend to way about 50kg but you don't tend to feel it because they are designed with a good centre of gravity.
      • Ekso Bionics
        • can do some or all of the work to assist an individual with walking
          • the more one can do themselves the better, but it can help with progressive rehab
          • costs about $240k
      • Hal - Hybrid Assistive Limb (Japan)
        • one of the older companies (about 10 or 12 years old)
        • only available in Japan; Bochum, Germany; and Florida, USA
        • continuous feedback loop to wearers to help retrain the brain
        • a lot of work to move
        • research to support that it can improve walking even if it's been many years since the loss of walking
          • no evidence that you will lose the improvements that you make if you do the full program ( see below ).
        • There is a 60 session program that you need to undergo to use it. 
          • In Germany it costs about $48k plus travel and living.
          • In Florida it cots $24k plus travel and living
    • everyday use
      • assist with working
      • assist with walking and rehab
        • improve independence
      • needs to be supported (serviced) in the region that it is being used.
      • Rewalk
        • from the Israeli military
        • to reduce fatigue for soldiers due to equipment weight and terrain
        • costs about $120k
        • one piece suit
          • can't sit in wheel chair or car because of the large backpack
        • will walk for you, can help someone who is close to fully paralyzed
        • the size (backpack) and potential need of assistance to put on means that it won't help with independence
      • Indego
        • parent company is Parker Hannifin who's key focus is Aviation, Aerospace, and Pharmaceutical
        • can be worn while driving
        • can get in and out of fairly quickly
        • have to move left to right to move
        • has a walking and training mode
          • can suggest programs to improve your walking over time
            • uses some form of AI to determine this
        • costs about $120k
        • they recommend up to 2 weeks of training to get the most out of it
          • the training cost is extra.
      • Keeogo
        • A Canadian device but only available in Ontario and Quebec
        • costs about $40k and have financing options
        • originally developed for the Canadian military
        • functions by picking up slight muscle movements in knees and hip flexors
          • seems to be targeting those who require only a little to moderate help
      • Suitx
        • In the process of applying for FDA approval, does have CE certification in the EU
        • costs about $50k
        • 2 piece suit
        • only ways about 10kg
  • Ireland
    • has about 9 exoskeletons which is one of the highest per capita
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