Posts Tagged SuitX
Not all exoskeletons need to give you superhuman strength. The exoskeleton startup company SuitX has developed an exoskeleton known as the Phoenix robotic system that was designed specifically to help people with paraplegia or other spinal cord injuries walk. It’s light, cheap, and feasible enough that it just might be practical.
Although SuitX also makes heavy-duty exoskeletons for industrial work environments, their Phoenix suit is designed to be as light and simple as possible. Most exoskeleton designs attempt to provide multiple benefits at once, such aid in lifting heavy objects, using tools with precision, and the ability to squat comfortably as if you were sitting on a chair. SuitX’s Phoenix keeps only the necessities for someone with hindered mobility to sit, stand, and walk.
The Phoenix has a motor on each hip but forgoes powered knee joints that are on many exoskeleton designs in favor of simple locking hinges around the knees. Using crutches to stabilize the system, the hip motors move each leg forward to allow paraplegics and people with other mobility ailments walk on level ground. It’s a new option for folks who would otherwise have no option beyond a wheelchair.
At 27 pounds, the Phoenix exoskeleton is one of the lightest on the market. The minimalist exoskeleton is expected to go on sale next month for a price of $40,000, relatively inexpensive for an exoskeleton suit. SuitX hopes to drive that price down even further by scaling up production in the coming years. And if it is a real, viable alternative to the wheelchair, you have to imagine there will be some demand.