Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


UC trialling a powered exoskeleton device

UC trialling a powered exoskeleton device to help people with knee joint issues

The University of Canterbury (UC) is fine tuning a high-tech powered exoskeleton lower-limb device which will assist patients recovering from injury and help the elderly by moving their legs.

XiaoQi Chen and Mervin Chandrapal demonstrate their walking exoskeletal device

UC mechanical engineering professor XiaoQi Chen (Pronounced: ZhaoChi Chen) has been overseeing the building and testing of the current UC prototype exoskeleton device which provides assistance to the knee joint.

``The device is worn by the user to assist limb movement. It operates on an ‘assist-as-needed’ principle. We will conduct clinical trials in the future, but currently we are only testing on able-bodied people for preliminary experiments,’’ Professor XiaoQi Chen says.

``Our device does not force movement of the patient along a predefined path but it assists the movement as directed by the user. We are improving the current prototype and sensor systems to allow greater freedom and better control of the exoskeleton system.

``We expect to be able to run more significant trials in late February or March.’’

Professor XiaoQi says the exoskeleton device could potentially have huge applications in automated rehabilitation. The testing of a second prototype, on both able-bodied users and those with limited mobility, will be a substantial step toward the device being used on patients in need.

UC’s mechanical engineering team has designed the entire exoskeleton system with background knowledge of the field based on research undertaken by PhD student Mervin Chandrapal.

``This cutting-edge technology will be a huge assistance to partially disabled people by reducing the effort required to perform their movement. The exoskeleton actively estimates the user’s intended movement using the user’s own biological signals and then provides assistive force to reduce the muscular effort required to execute knee extension and flexion motion.

``As well as supporting the elderly to perform activities of daily living the device could assist a patient recovering from an injury by reducing the load on the limb, or in an industrial environment, it could provide assistive force to workers performing repetitive task that require significant muscular effort.

``It could reduce the cost usually associated with intensive hands on therapy. Also, a home based rehabilitation system could significantly shorten the recovery time.’’

Though the device was designed to support the knee joint, it could be adapted to support other body joints especially in rehabilitation for upper-limbs, Professor XiaoQi says.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


13/10: 40 Years Since The Māori Land March Arrived At Parliament

Traffic into Wellington came to a standstill as thousands of Māori and Pākehā streamed along the motorway into the capital on 13 October 1975, concluding the Māori land march to parliament. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news