Wearable robot technology to enhance the lives of mobility-challenged people is almost here. Samsung Electronics has been exploring various wearable hip-assisted devices with the objective of making mobility easier for elderly people and for people who need a little assistance.
Samsung Electronics filed documents with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year(2022) for its assistive robot “GEMS Hip” a wearable device that acts as an exoskeleton for users with mobility issues, using an active assist algorithm to improve gait and muscle movement.
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Details about Samsung’s wearable hip-assisted robot
A prototype of the device was also showcased during CES 2019.
According to previous clinical studies, the Wearable Hip-assisted Robot developed by Samsung Electronics showed the effect of increasing walking speed, reducing excessive muscle activity, and reducing respiratory metabolic energy when applied to the elderly.
A boost mode for when you need it
New updates in Samsung’s clinical trials show that the company and its researchers are also exploring a feature called ‘Boost’ mode in these novel mobility assistance devices.
Samsung Electronics has launched a new clinical trial in South Korea to explore this functionality in conjunction with researchers at the University of Sahmyook.
The ‘Boost Mode’ on these WHPs (wearable hip-assisted products) has been developed to assist walking according to the user’s intention. The ‘Boost Mode’ will help when the user wants to increase the walking speed.
The researchers are trying to understand and evaluate the effects of this Boost mode on gait analysis.
By understanding objective data including spatio-temporal variables, the researchers are trying to develop a Gait Index indicator, that can be easily understood by the user.
This will help the user to understand the tradeoffs between the boost mode and the walking quality as interpreted with the gait index.
The new clinical trial was registered late last year in South Korea by Samsung Electronics. Samsung was anticipating the commercial launch of GEMS Hip last year, however, as the bot is intended for use as a medical assistant, Samsung has to receive FDA approval before it can be released to the market.
Others in the market
Samsung is not the only company looking at the market potential of wearable robots that can make mobility easier for motion-challenged patients.
Last year, researchers at Stanford University showcased an exoskeleton that can assist with walking out in the “wild.”
Stanford’s “robotic boot” has a motor that works with calf muscles to give the wearer an extra push with every step.
But, unlike other exoskeletons out there, this push is personalized thanks to a machine-learning-based model that was trained through years of work using emulators.
We expect some of these mobility assistance technologies to show up soon in the market.