Tech

Wandercraft’s newest exoskeleton allows paraplegics to walk with a more natural gait


Paris-based Wandercraft has announced that it’s the latest “Atalante“exoskeleton has been updated to give paralyzed patients and other patients a more natural gait during rehabilitation exercises. It has also received a Medical Device Regulation (MDR) certification) in Europe, allowing more widespread use of the device by patients and medical staff, and eventually, it was made to move closer to the personal exoskeleton with additional funding.

The last time I saw Wandercraft’s first generation exoskeleton was over four years ago, that’s the age in robotics. However, I recently had the opportunity to see the latest model being used on hemiplegia patients and chat with them and the Atalante operations team.

Skeleton Wandercraft Atalante

Steve Dent / Engadget

The outside skeleton (or exos, as they are called in the industry) are “wearable robots” tailored to the individual user, designed to assist with walking and rehabilitation rehabilitation treatments. restore the patient’s mobility. Atalante is Wandercraft’s second generation exo with a more advanced design and features than the original model. It comes with a remote to operate it and a new app that allows physiotherapists and patients to fine-tune movements and exercise programs. It uses two sets of removable batteries that allow for continuous use.

The new model is smaller, more streamlined, and more comfortable for patients, thanks to new hardware, tailored tweaks, and smarter software. It can now balance itself, making control easier for both the patient and the physiotherapist. Although it has yet to be approved for use alone, Wandercraft showed me a video demonstrating that it can balance itself, even when knocked over. It also offers features that make it easier to get in and out, along with a “Wander Balance” feature that allows for easy “vertical” to help the patient stand up.

The device automatically generates optimized kinematics and can be adjusted to the individual patient’s morphology, with settings that allow for customized exercises. The newest feature is “RealGait” (shown above) which allows for physiological walking at an adjustable speed. “CustomGait” allows speed, step length, and center of gravity to be changed, while “ActiveGait” allows users to vary assist effort from 0 to 100 percent. That feature also includes an “EarlyGait” setting for first steps, along with a new RealGait setting.

Those features, plus the smaller changes, make the Atalante so much more useful. “We’ve improved half the turns so they happen in place instead of taking up a lot of space,” Wandercraft CEO Matthieu Masselin told me. “We’ve redesigned things like attachments and padding. That allows patients to get out faster, move more comfortably, and get around more in each session – which means more benefits in terms of performance. rehabilitation and education.”

All of that is enabled by a variety of sensors and software that can be quickly adjusted, Wandercraft told me. The device’s “sense of balance” makes possible different gait styles, while also providing confidence to patients and physiotherapists that the device (still not 130-pound) will not overturned.

Skeleton Wandercraft Atalante

Steve Dent / Engadget

Wandercraft allows some patients to use Atalante for rehabilitation purposes, and I have seen it work with Arbiha, a hemiplegic patient who used it for several sessions. The device is suspended from the ceiling and operated by a physiotherapist for safety reasons, but the plan is to one day have a version that can be used in the real world without the need for assistance. help.

It is remarkable how easily she was able to walk for a relatively long hour. Exo therapy offers some obvious benefits such as stimulation of the cardiovascular/lymphatic system and training for the arms and other supporting muscles, but it goes beyond that.

Skeleton Wandercraft Atalante

Steve Dent / Engadget

Arbhia told me, “It uplifts both my body and my spirit. “It gives me a cardio workout that I just can’t get. Standing upright for quite a long time also helps me with balance, because you lose that aspect when you don’t stand up. I suffer from indigestion. Chemistry and Walking Therapy helped stabilize that as well, which is something I didn’t expect at all.”

Wandercraft’s ultimate goal is a personal exoskeleton that can be used as a support device at home or on the street. To that end, the company just received a $45 million grant to help it fulfill its mission of “mobility for all.” “With the team we have, the funding we receive, and the evolving technology, we are confident that we can one day have our showrooms on the market,” says Masselin. streets and in people’s homes. “But we still have a lot of work to do.”

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