BIOMEC is involved in the design of a hybrid exoskeleton for spinal cord injuries

The Biomechanical Engineering Lab (BIOMEC) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) participates, together with the Biomechanics Unit of the National Hospital for Paraplegics (HNP), the Neural Rehabilitation Group of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Guttmann Institute of Barcelona, in the TAILOR project, whose objective is the development of customizable robotic and neuroprosthetic modular systems for gait assistance in patients with spinal cord injury. At the annual meeting of this scientific and technological consortium, which took place on February 7 at the HNP, the scientists and engineers shared the progress made in the project. Moreover, a new modular neuroprosthesis was presented that will apply functional electrical stimulation according to the gait phase of the user.

The neuroprosthesis will be integrated into the ABLE Exoskeleton (ABLE Human Motion) to implement a hybrid therapy during the patient's gait rehabilitation process. The TAILOR project also includes the development of biomechanical simulations of the assisted walking motion. The idea is to predict the optimal configuration of the hybrid robot for the personalized rehabilitation of each user.

The concept of 'User Centered Design' is present throughout the development of these technologies. In addition, metrics have been created that allow each patient's progress to be analyzed and evaluated individually. During the meeting, the final phase of experimentation with the hybrid robot was planned, which will be carried out in people with spinal cord injury at HNP and also in people with stroke in the facilities of the Guttmann Institute in Barcelona.

The project, financed by the National R&D Plan of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities, the European Regional Development Fund and the State Research Agency (AEI), integrates three subprojects. The HNP, a center that depends on the Castilla-La Mancha Health Service, coordinates the global project and leads the first of the three parts of the project, in which the Guttmann Institute also participates. The second part is developed by the Neural Rehabilitation Group of the Cajal Institute of CSIC, while the third has been carried out by the Biomechanical Engineering Lab (BIOMEC) of UPC.