The powered lower-body exoskeleton Quix by IHMC and MYOLYN is now one of five finalists of the Mobility Unlimited Challenge by the Toyota Mobility Foundation in partnership with the Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre. Each finalist receives a $500,000 grant for further development, and a shot at the $1M grand prize.
The Quix hip-knee-ankle wearable robot is joined by the other four finalists:
- The Evowalk – sensory/electrical stimulation sleeve
- Moby – shared powered wheelchair
- Phoenix Ai Ultralight Wheelchair – intelligent wheelchair
- Qolo – wheeled platform with a sit-to-stand powered brace with tilt control
The five finalists were selected amongst teams from 28 countries by a group of eleven judges.
“Current personal mobility devices are often unable to fully meet the needs of users due to limitations affecting functionality and usability. Historically, the pace of innovation is slow, due to small and fragmented markets and difficulties in getting new technology funded by health-care systems and insurers. This can make the field unattractive to the very people who could help change the world. We hope that challenges like this can inspire innovation and are excited to see how the five finalists use this opportunity to develop their ideas further.” – Charlotte Macken of Nesta’s Challenge Prize Centre
The main focus on the Quix wearable robot is on a superior control system that utilizes onboard sensors. Potentially, the exoskeleton would be able to sense its environment to supplement its balancing capabilities.
The Quix exoskeleton is created by IHMC and MYOLYN, both of which competed at the 2016 Cybathlon. MYOLYN is a leading manufacturer of FES (Functional Electric Stimulation) bicycles and exercise equipment.
IHMC Robotics Lab is no stranger to exoskeleton development. The Robotics Lab has worked with NASA on the X1 Mina exoskeleton and took second place at the 2016 Cybathlon Exoskeleton Race (see IHMC’s practice run video).
“We’re delighted to have made it through as one of the five finalists of the Mobility Unlimited Challenge. In the business world, developing technologies for people with lower-limb paralysis has been extraordinarily hard. We’ve constantly struggled against people saying the market is too small and because of that people aren’t putting in the effort, research or investment this field deserves, meaning there hasn’t been enough advancement…” – Peter Neuhaus, IHMC
About the Challenge
The Mobility Unlimited Challenge focuses on individuals with complete lower limb paralysis. The challenge operates under the premise that there isn’t an affordable or proliferated technology that presently restores full movement while research and development efforts are scattered. The challenge aims to bring together creative individuals from around the world in order to accelerate innovation and promote collaboration to create solutions that increase personal independence. [more…]
References and suggested reading:
Toyota Mobility Foundation Unveils Five Visions for the Future of Mobility at CES, Press Release, http://toyotamobilityfoundation.org/pdf/press_release_20190107_en.pdf
IHMC (Florida Institue for Human and Machine Cognition) Robotics Lab, http://robots.ihmc.us
MYOLYN, Company Website, https://www.myolyn.com
Qolo (Quality of Life with Locomotion), James Dyson Award Entry, Aug 6, 2014, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=eavedBGY2VE