Developed by the Paris-based exoskeleton manufacturer Wandercraft, these devices make it easier for people to walk. (Image Credit: Wandercraft)
Recently, Jean-Louise Constanza, a co-founder of Wandercraft, built an exoskeleton for his 16-year-old son suffering from a genetic neurological condition. This ailment prevents his legs from receiving enough signals to function normally. Once he gives the command “Robot, stand up,” the large frame fastened to his body lifts him up, providing walking capabilities.
In the demonstration, the exoskeleton robot, strapped to Oscar’s shoulders, chest, waist, knees, and feet, allowed him to walk across the room and turn around. Without such a device, he would need assistance to walk, but now this provides more independence.
In ten years, Constanza expects to see fewer wheelchairs being used by people suffering from walking impairments.
Dozens of hospitals in France, Luxembourg, and the United States have purchased these exoskeletons, which support and simulate body movement, for $176,000 per unit. However, these cannot be sold to private citizens yet, which is what Wandercraft is working on next. The company’s engineers say that the exoskeletons need to be lighter before private citizens purchase them.
Worldwide companies are also developing exoskeletons, competing to make them as light as possible. Some are expected to assist people with walking impairments, while others focus on helping factory workers perform exhaustive tasks.
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