Robotic suit mimics natural hip motion to help wheelchair users walk again

April 12, 2017

Imagine a wearable robotic suit that could help wheelchair users walk again. It sounds like science fiction, but could soon become fact, thanks to research from SFU mechatronic systems engineering professor Siamak Arzanpour.

Arzanpour’s lower limb anthropomorphic exoskeleton system powers limbs unable to move independently. Crucially, it provides the full range of hip motion necessary to support normal walking and self-balance.

This allows the system to mimic natural hip motions, a breakthrough for robotic exoskeleton devices, which generally only allow users to walk in a straight line. With Arzanpour’s device, which features a novel 3D-printed actuator motor, users can walk up and down stairs, change direction and sit naturally.

Not only could this lead to increased independence for people with mobility issues, it could be used for rehabilitation, helping people recover faster from lower-limb injuries or paralysis.