Wearable robotic ‘WalkON Swimsuit’ off to Cybathlon 2020

Kim, a triplegic for 22 years demonstrates strolling and climbing the steps sporting the WalkOn Swimsuit throughout the media day for the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony on June 21 at KAIST. Credit score: KAIST

Standing upright and strolling alone are quite simple however noble motions that separate people from many different creatures. Wearable and prosthetic applied sciences have emerged to reinforce human perform in locomotion and manipulation. Nevertheless, advances in wearable robotic know-how have been particularly momentous to Byoung-Wook Kim, a triplegic for 22 years following a devastating automotive accident.


Kim rejoiced after standing upright and strolling once more by placing on the ‘WalkON Swimsuit,’ the wearable robotic developed by Professor Kyoungchul Kong’s group. Much more, Kim received third prize within the powered exoskeleton race at Cybathlon 2016, a global cyborg Olympics hosted by ETH Zurich.

Now Kim and Professor Kong’s group are all equipped for the Cybathlon Championship 2020. Professor Kong and his startup, Angel Robotics, held a kickoff ceremony for Cybathlon 2020 at KAIST on June 24. The 2020 championship will happen in Switzerland.

Solely people with full paralysis of the legs ensuing from spinal wire accidents are eligible to take part within the Cybathlon, which takes place each 4 years. Pilots compete towards one another whereas finishing on a regular basis duties utilizing technical help programs in six completely different disciplines: a brain-computer interface race, a useful electrical stimulation bike race, a powered arm prosthesis race, a powered leg prosthesis race, a powered exoskeleton race, and a powered wheelchair race. The 2016 championship drew 66 individuals from 56 groups representing 25 nations.

Within the powered exoskeleton race, pilots full on a regular basis actions corresponding to getting up from a settee and overcoming obstacles corresponding to stairs, ramps, or slopes and as much as 4 pilots compete concurrently on tracks to unravel six duties; and the pilot that solves probably the most duties within the least period of time wins the race.

Kim, who demonstrated strolling and climbing the steps sporting the WalkON Swimsuit throughout the media day for the Cybathlon 2020 kickoff ceremony on June 21 at KAIST, stated, “I’ve been confined to a wheelchair for greater than 20 years. I’m used to it so I really feel just like the wheelchair is one in every of my physique components. Truly, I do not really feel any large difficulties in doing on a regular basis duties in wheelchair. However at any time when I face the truth that I’ll by no means have the ability to rise up with my very own two legs once more, I’m so devastated.”

Advances in wearable robotic know-how have been particularly momentous to Byoung-Wook Kim, a triplegic for 22 years following a devastating automotive accident. Kim rejoiced after standing upright and strolling once more by placing on the ‘WalkON Swimsuit,’ the wearable robotic developed by Professor Kyoungchul Kong’s group. Credit score: KAIST

He continued, “I nonetheless bear in mind the day once I stood up with my very own two legs on my own after 22 years by sporting this robotic. It was past description.”

The marketplace for wearable robots, particularly for exoskeleton robots, is constant to develop because the getting old inhabitants has been a significant problem in virtually each superior nation. The worldwide marketplace for these robots expects to see annual development of 41.2% to eight.three billion US by 2025. Healthcare wearable robots for the aged and rehabilitation make up the half of the market share adopted by wearable robots for industrial and protection functions.

Professor Kong from the Division of Mechanical Engineering and his colleagues developed two wearable robotic programs in 2014: The WalkON Swimsuit for full paraplegics and “Angel Swimsuit” for these with partial impairment in strolling potential such because the aged and rehabilitation sufferers.

Professor Kong stated after 15 years of fundamental analysis, the group is now in a position to develop its personal distinct applied sciences. He stated their robots are powered by non-resistant precision drives with algorithms recognizing the consumer’s shifting intention. Integrated with prosthetic units know-how from the Severance Rehabilitation Hospital, their management know-how has led to the manufacturing of a customizable robotic swimsuit optimized for every consumer’s bodily situation.

The WalkON Swimsuit, which boasts a most power of 250 Nm and most rotation velocity of 45 RPM, provides the consumer high-energy effectivity modeled after the physiology of the human leg. It permits customers to stroll on flat floor and down stairs, climb up and down inclines, and sit and lie down. At present the battery lasts 5 to 6 hours for locomotion and the approximate 25 kg of robotic weight nonetheless stays a technical problem to improve.

Professor Kong’s group has grafted AR glass know-how into the WalkOn Swimsuit that one in every of his pilots placed on for the torch relay of the PyongChang Paralympics in 2018. His group is now upgrading the WalkON Swimsuit four.zero for subsequent yr’s competitors. Severance Rehabilitation Hospital will assist the seven pilots with their coaching.

Professor Kong stated his objective is to make robots that may make individuals with disabilities far more impartial. He pressured, “Wearable robots needs to be designed for every single consumer. We offer an excellent graphical consumer interface in order that we are able to design, examine, and in addition confirm our optimized design for patrons’ greatest efficiency.”


Utilizing sensors to enhance the interplay between people and robots strolling collectively


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The Korea Superior Institute of Science and Know-how (KAIST)

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Wearable robotic ‘WalkON Swimsuit’ off to Cybathlon 2020 (2019, June 25)
retrieved 7 August 2019
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