March 10, 2014
3D printed Ekso-Suit, the tech-packed exoskeleton helps paralyzed folk walk again
Let’s face it, being paralyzed is indeed difficult and though thousands across the world live with a lack of motor skills, their life isn’t made easier in this ever-mobile world. Nobody loves being limited to the use of a wheelchair, which is why American 3D printing firm 3D Systems has come up with a one-of-a-kind solution that’ll help people with physical disabilities walk again. Called the Ekso-Suit, this 3D printed exoskeleton fits onto the user’s legs and back to support the natural walking motion. Crowned the “first ever 3D printed hybrid Exoskeleton robotic suit”, the Ekso-Suit was custom-designed for Amanda Boxtel who has been paralyzed since 1992 after a skiing accident.
To create the Ekso-Suit, Boxtel’s thighs, shins and spine were 3D-scanned. The data received was then used to create a three-dimensional digital model. Shapes of the flexible printed parts of the exoskeleton are based on this digital model. Owing to this, the Ekso-Suit is a perfect fit for Boxtel and enables her to walk around as she pleases. The suit’s mechanical actuators and controls were developed by California-based exoskeleton specialist, Ekso Bionics, and use sensors connected to battery-powered motors that help drive the legs. The Ekso-Suit could prove to be a great way to help disabled folk embrace mobility again and the fact that it’s 3D printed makes it a technological dream come true!