Suitx has a $40,000 exoskeleton. The suit returns movement to wearers’ hips and knees with small motors attached to standard orthotics. Wearers can control the movement of each leg and walk at up to 1.1 miles per hour by pushing buttons integrated into a pair of crutches.
- A modular exoskeleton allowing the user to independently put on and remove each piece.
- Weighs only 12.25kg (27 lbs), affording greater agility.
- A speed of 1.1 miles/hour (0.5 m/sec) has been clocked by a Phoenix user. However, the maximum speed depends on the individual user.
- On a single charge, Phoenix can walk for 4 hours continuously or 8 hours intermittently.
- Phoenix is adjustable for different size users and can be easily configured to fit individual conditions.
- An intuitive interface makes it easy for users to control standing up, sitting down and walking.
- Phoenix can comfortably be worn while seated in a wheelchair.
At 27 pounds, the Phoenix is among the lightest and cheapest medical exoskeletons. It also has unique abilities; the suit is modular and adjustable so it can adapt to, say, a relatively tall person who just needs mobility assistance for one knee.
A battery pack worn as a backpack powers the exoskeleton for up to eight hours. An app can be used to track the patient’s walking data. SuitX has mainly worked with patients with spinal cord injuries, who can use the Phoenix to walk again.
The device could also have therapeutic benefits for people who have experienced a stroke or other motor injury, but more research needs to be conducted.
SuitX is just one of the companies hoping to boost interest in exoskeleton research. Competing suits like the ReWalk, which costs $70,000 and weighs about 50 pounds, are striving to reduce costs while improving functionality. If exoskeleton makers can drive suit costs down to a few thousand dollars, they could start competing with motorized wheelchairs
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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