Italian and Swiss scientists created an unseen form of exoskeleton – one that stops elderly people from falling over.
One of the researchers said that they had developed a closed-loop system based on the use of a wearable device, an exoskeleton, to detect the onset of falling and to generate support to have balance recovery and to reduce the probability of falling.
Data shows that ¼ of Americans of 65 years or older fall every year. Every eleven seconds, an older adult has emergency room treatment because of a fall, every nineteen minutes an older adult loses the life because of a fall. Falls are actually the primary cause of fatal injuries and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.
Right now, this exoskeleton is a prototype of a smart, light weight and easy-to-personalize exoskeleton that counteracts the loss of balance and promotes balance recovery after an accidental slip.
“When I wear the exoskeleton, I feel that I am helped and protected even during normal walking.
The motors work for reestablishment of the hip balance”, says one of the patients.
The approach of very easy personalization is perhaps what matters the most.
After the prototype proved to be effective, the researchers have focused to make the device more portable and discreet, to hopefully one day have old ladies helping the youngsters with their cool robotic legs.
The novelty of the experiment is that for the first time, a human and an exoskeleton act together in real time and the exoskeleton gives support to mitigate a risk of fall.