The rehabilitation department at SJD Barcelona Children's Hospital has participated in the design of an exoskeleton for children with spinal muscular dystrophy developed by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC). The device consists of a number of motorised structures that conform to the legs and trunk and imitate muscle function, giving children the strength they need to stand and walk.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a degenerative neuromuscular disease that affects one in every 10,000 babies. It causes a progressive loss of strength that renders children unable to walk, or leads them to stop walking, during the first few years of life, and brings about other health complications such as scoliosis, osteoporosis and respiratory insufficiency.
The exoskeleton also features a number of sensors, a movement management system and a battery with a battery life of five hours.
Currently, the exoskeleton is being tested in a group of eight hospital patients between 3 and 9 years of age.