Able Human Motion: The Future of Exoskeletons

For over 10 years, robotic exoskeletons have been an exciting mobility device for people with spinal cord injuries. They may not be able to return the ability to run to their users quite yet, and most still require the use of crutches, but exoskeletons are still life-changing, especially the Able Human Motion exoskeleton developed by a team of engineers from Barcelona, Spain.

To have the ability to stand up and walk is something many people with spinal cord injuries would be extremely grateful to be able to do again, especially if the exoskeleton itself feels "normal." And while this particular exoskeleton is still far from that, it is inching closer to the ultimate exoskeleton goal.

Why the Excitement? 

The Able Human Motion exoskeleton has been getting a lot of buzz thanks to its dynamic design. It's slimmer, more lightweight and it has a more normal gait than most exoskeletons currently available. This is the first exoskeleton of this kind that allows users to put it on themselves, directly in their wheelchairs.

Let's discuss some of the finer points of this amazing technology. When you first look at the Able Human motion exoskeleton, you will likely notice the lightweight and slim design. While most exoskeletons weigh 20 to 25 kilograms, the Able Human Motion weighs just 8 kilograms, which is roughly 17 1/2 pounds.

Also, this exoskeleton operates via a knee-based motion step trigger detection, which makes the exoskeleton safer and promotes a more natural and intuitive way of walking. It also has a remote control that lets you select different operation modes which are “Stand,” “Walk” and “Sit,” making it possible to be used independently.

A cane, crutches, or a walker however is still needed to maintain stability while using this device. The creators developed an app that lets you control the gait and view the number of steps you’ve taken in an Able Human Motion exoskeleton.

When Will it Be Available?

People with spinal cord injuries have been waiting for an exoskeleton of this caliber for years, and it will soon it will be available commercially. The Able Human Motion exoskeleton is currently is intended for the clinical setting only, and a home version will be available by 2025. The Able Human Motion exoskeleton is also only intended to be used by people with spinal cord injuries from the C7 to L5 level. You must also weigh under 220lbs and have a height between 4'9 - 6'2.

The company behind the Able Human Motion exoskeleton has done a lot when it comes to testing the device as well. To date, it has been used by over 130 patients and over 200,000 steps have been made using the exoskeleton. Future functionality is planned to enable users to be able to climb stairs and ramps as well.

Co-founders Alfons Carnicero and Alex Garcia have put together a powerhouse team that created this exoskeleton. Currently, the team at Able Human Motion, a spin-off from Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), is based in Barcelona, Spain and they’re focusing their efforts on the European market. Their first goal is to make their exoskeleton commercially available in Europe by June 2023 with a price point between $42,000-$62,000. They are taking pre-orders now in Europe only. When the Able Human Motion Exoskeleton becomes available in the US, we will make sure to update this article.


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Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Research, exoskeleton

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