Start-up builds ‘exoskeleton robot’ that lets paraplegic patients walk again (2018/09/24)

  • 2018-09-24
  • Yinung Chen

Bionic legs were once seen only in sci-fi movies, but researchers worldwide have turned them into a reality that can change lives. In Taiwan, a leading applied research institution is working with a local start-up to produce advanced robotic limbs.
It's called a "wearable exoskeleton robot," and it lets paraplegic patients stand up and even walk again independently. Let's see it in action. 

On his wedding day, this groom walks down the red carpet with the aid of an exoskeleton robot. It's an emotional moment for the audience.

Shu Tien-tsung
User and trainer
Wearing this exoskeleton robot has allowed me to accomplish some of my dreams. For example, at my wedding, I was able to walk down the red carpet with this exoskeleton robot, instead of sitting in a wheelchair. 

The bionic legs give handicapped patients a way to stand up. Called a "wearable exoskeleton robot," it weighs 20 kg and has four motors. As movement courses from the pelvic joints to the knee joints, patients with spinal cord injuries are able to walk again.

The person behind the exoskeleton robot is Wu Cheng-hua, founder of a Taiwanese technology company named Free Bionics. He has continued to improve the technology, and with the help of the Industrial Technology Research Institute, his company earned an R&D 100 Award. The company started collaborating with a Japanese medical equipment dealer last year. 

Hu Jwu-sheng
ITRI lab director
If you say our Mechanical and Mechatronics Systems Research Laboratories is like an aircraft carrier, then this start-up is one of the destroyers we've sent out. Essentially, it can get resources from the aircraft carrier whenever it needs to. We are duty-bound when they come to us for help. 

Wu's road of entrepreneurship is not just about giving hope to paraplegic patients.
He also wants to use the Free Bionics technology to create a success story in Japan.