Image: CSIC

We’ve seen exoskeletons before, but nothing quite like this one. The new brace, developed by Spanish researchers, will help children with spinal muscular atrophy.

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The 26-pound device consists of long support rods and are adjusted to fit around a child’s legs and torso. A series of motors mimic human muscles in the joints, endowing the patient the required strength to stand upright and walk. A series of sensors, along with a movement controller and a five-hour battery, complete the system. The aluminum and titanium device can also be expanded and modified to accommodate children between the age of 3 and 14.

The device was developed by the Spanish National Research Council, and it does more than just help children walk (sometimes for the very first time); by getting them to move, the device will prevent the onset of scoliosis, which results from loss of agility. Spinal muscular atrophy is a degenerative illness that affects about one in 10,000 babies. Eventually, it’s hoped that this pint-sized exoskeleton will move outside of hospital settings, and into the patients’ homes.

[Spanish National Research Council via GizMag]