New wearable robot developed for International Cyborg Olympics

By Lim Chang-won Posted : June 15, 2020, 16:02 Updated : June 15, 2020, 16:02

[Courtesy of KAIST]

SEOUL -- A national research university unveiled a new wearable robot for completely disabled people with paraplegia that will compete at the International Cyborg Olympics (Cybathlon). Developers said the robot can find and operate the most suitable walking pattern for wearers.

The robot called Walkon Suit 4 was developed by a joint team involving Kong Kyeong-cheol, a KAIST professor, and Rha Dong-wook, a professor at Severance Hospital's rehabilitation division. Kong has founded Angel Robotic, which develops wearable robots for completely disabled people with paraplegia.

KAIST said in a statement that Walkon Suit 4 was developed to compete in the wearable robot category of Cybathlonan, an international competition in which people with physical disabilities compete against each other to complete everyday tasks using state-of-the-art technical assistance systems.

The robot is designed to avoid obstacles that are frequently encountered in everyday life, KAIST said, adding that Just as a person's body naturally balances out weight, it grabs the center of gravity, reducing the weight of the robot significantly.

Unlike the existing wearable robot that had considerable physical fatigue because of its weight directly delivered to the wearer, disabled people wearing Walkon Suit 4 can walk more than 40 meters per minute on continuous walking. The walking speed is similar to that of non-disabled people, KAIST said, adding this is the fastest pace ever reported worldwide for people with paraplegic disabilities wearing walking aids.
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