Robot exoskeleton developed locally as an aid for those with mobility impairment

January 18, 2022, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

We've written about exoskeleton development several times in the past here and here . The external physical aids provide hope for many who have sustained spinal cord injury in car accidents, sporting accidents, battlefield injuries or physical assaults. They operate by attaching an external device which then acts as a powered aid to move the limbs which are no longer moving.

Some use implants which stimulate muscles into moving while others use AI to move the limbs physically.

It is good to see some of this research now occurring in the Region. Traumatic spinal cord injury is a leading cause of disability and with it comes many other issues including emotional, mental, financial and physical strain. Often those who become disabled are no longer able to return to previous jobs and have difficulty securing employment. Aids to mobility other than wheelchairs, crutches or walkers are tremendously valuable.

This latest self-walking exoskeleton developed at the University of Waterloo is an incredible lower body external walking device that uses deep learning and a wearable camera to help the wearer walk.

The Record did a wonderful job of reporting on the development. It’s attached below.

If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence – in a car accident, bike accident or workplace injury, for example, contact our experienced personal injury lawyers today.


University of Waterloo team produces self-walking robot exoskeleton for those with mobility impairment

ExoNet collects data from its surroundings using a wearable camera, such as a smartphone, in order to sense when the user wants to move and execute that movement safely.
Cheyenne Bholla
By Cheyenne BhollaRecord Reporter
Wed., Jan. 12, 2022

WATERLOO — A self-walking robotic exoskeleton produced by University of Waterloo researchers is advancing technology to help those with mobility impairments.

ExoNet is a lower-body suit that uses computer vision and deep learning artificial intelligence to help users who have trouble moving on their own.

Deep learning is a special type of artificial intelligence that involves two components — the data collection and then what the algorithm chooses to do with that information.

Traditional exoskeletons would be manually controlled by a smartphone app or a joystick, said Brokoslaw Laschowski, the former University of Waterloo student who led the project.

ExoNet collects data from its surroundings using a wearable camera, such as a smartphone, in order to sense when the user wants to move and execute that movement safely.

The same way semi-autonomous cars can give the driver the freedom to focus on other tasks, he said this may be preferred in medical devices with “algorithms that substitute our human thoughts with artificial intelligence.”
The team of University of Waterloo engineering professors John McPhee and Alexander Wong and engineering PhD candidate William McNally bought the suit from a Spanish company called Technaid. Laschowski’s team focused on software development.

“The real unique aspect of our research was we included vision. We thought about how humans control our movement when we’re walking,” Laschowski said, adding that the robot moves at a normal walking pace of about one metre per second.

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