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Mind-controlled exoskeleton kicked off World Cup

A young adult who is paralyzed from the waist down kicked off the World Cup with a mind-controlled exoskeleton: a wearable robot.

How it works? The patient thinks about moving, the generated activity is translated, and that activates the exoskeleton. Paper-thin electrodes - that record and transmit neuronal information to the exoskeleton - are the conduit between the patient's brain and the exoskeleton. In the case of human patients, most of the electrodes reside in a cap that he or she wears.

There are different health applications where the human needs physical assistance for motion. These are performed by these so called exoskeletons with applications ranging from paraplegic persons to walk again, rehabilitation devices to learn to walk again or move the arms, assistance for elderly, people with functional muscle weakness, in industry or care facilities for heavy tasks and so on.

The robotics research center at the VUB develops different robotics technologies, such as the rehabilitation-exoskeleton ALTACRO. Marc Herremans is the ambassador of this research project.

With the IWT-SBO project MIRAD, the VUB develops assistive robotic technologies for people with muscle weakness, in collaboration with KULeuven and industrial partners SIRRIS, Space Applications Services and Thomas More Kempen. The National Multiple Sclerose Center in Melsbroek and the rehabilitation hospital RevArte assist the development of the MIRAD exoskeleton by translating the needs of patients for the engineers.