Researchers from Canterbury Christ Church University have presented the UK's first lower limb Exoskeleton aimed at helping children with neurological disorders at London Tech Week 2023.
The academics were part of a three-year EU Interreg 2 Seas (European Regional Development Fund) project called MOTION. It included researchers from across four countries with the aim to develop Assistive Robotic Technology in the form of a wearable, lower limb exoskeleton to help children with cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions stand and walk as part of their rehabilitation therapy.
Professor Konstantinos Sirlantzis who leads the Artificial Intelligence and Assistive Robotics research team at the University, said: "We’re delighted to be able to have this opportunity to demonstrate the innovative design and AI-based personalised predictive control for the Exoskeleton, which was developed specifically with the consideration of the physicality and movement of children with cerebral palsy."
Professor Sirlantzis, along with Mohammad Sarajchi, one of the researchers who works on the project, presented the Exoskeleton and the benefits and future potential of Assistive Robotics for UK technology to Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP, as she visited London Tech Week 2023.
The research team at Canterbury Christ Church is part of the Artificial Intelligence Analytics (ARTIA) Data Labs, an initiative within the University’s Engineering, Design, Growth and Enterprise (EDGE) Hub.
Major outcomes for the MOTION Project included not only the development of an autonomous lower limb exoskeleton, a hip-knee module, and a powered ankle foot support for children but also web-based training packages on Assistive Robotics for healthcare students and professionals. It has also helped to establish an international network to transfer technology and related knowledge on Assistive Robotic Technology developments which will contribute to the digital workforce developments in the UK and EU and improve the rehabilitation practice and overall quality of life of children with neuro-disabilities.