Robotic Exoskeletons Transforming the Lives of People with Disabilities

06 Oct 2017
Wearable Robotic Exoskeleton

Exoskeletons have been no less than a miracle as they continue to transform the human life since their inception. Market players in the robotics industry and various governments are investing a huge amount in the development of exoskeleton technology. Three Southern California universities, Keck School of Medicine, UC Irvine and Caltech, have won an $8 million federal research grant by the National Science Foundation in September 2017, to develop bionic suits for paraplegic patients. The research will be focused on the development of a fully implantable brain-machine interface device that could restore the ability to walk and restore sensation to the lower body of the patients by transmitting commands to a robotic exoskeleton.1

The researchers are banking on exoskeletons to help kids suffering from cerebral palsy overcome their physical inability. The healthcare industry has presented lucrative opportunities for the market players such as Ekso Bionics Holdings, Inc., which has become a pioneer in the field of robotic exoskeletons. The company's first commercially available product, Ekso, has helped in transforming the lives of paralysis patients, and Ekso along with Lockheed Martin is working to provide exoskeletons for military purposes.2

Recently, Ekso Bionics Holdings has also announced a collaboration with Genesis Rehab Services (GRS), a leading provider of physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy, targeting the older adult population. The collaboration is aimed at learning more about post-acute rehabilitation settings to support better patient outcomes in skilled nursing facilities.3

Another company which is also looking for broadening its market rapidly is ReWalk Robotics Ltd., which is working on a "soft exoskeleton," designed to help people who have lower limb disability, sans spinal cord injury or paraplegia. The product is aimed at patients recovering from a stroke or dealing with everything from the effects of old age to diseases that impair their mobility like MS and Parkinson's disease.

To lead the market as well as engage in the process of overall market growth, a company needs to introduce new products and services to the market, improve the existing products' framework, work in collaboration with the top market leaders or win new contracts from military, commercial industries and acquire the relatively weaker companies into its domain. The wearable robotic exoskeleton market generated $96 million in 2016, and it is anticipated to touch $4 billion mark in the coming years which will certainly increase the competition in the market.

References:

1 LA Business Journal

2 Microcap Daily

3 Business Insider

 

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