It is the work of researcher Elena García Armada. She received this Tuesday the Popular Prize of the European Inventor Award 2022. The pioneering exoskeleton for children that she invented was awarded.
The exoskeleton allows children in wheelchairs to walk during rehabilitation sessions. It reduces muscle degradation and medical complications. The engineer received the highest number of votes from the public in the research category. She thus obtained one of the most relevant international awards in the field of innovation.
“She is an exceptional inventor. She took advantage of her experience and expertise in robotics and healthcare technology. Thus improving the lives of many children,” said Antonio Campinos. He is president of the European Patent Office (EPO). “His invention makes the experience of walking during rehabilitation sessions possible for children. It offers hope,” he added.
“This award is a source of pride for me, but also for Spain. It is a scientific success that is the result of the transfer of knowledge from our country,” he said.
The People’s Prize was given by the EPO at the European Inventor Award 2022 ceremony. Adult exoskeletons have been around since the 1960s. But no one had developed one for children. There was a clear need for such a device.
Garcia Armada saw faced the challenge. Children are often unable to walk due to neurological conditions. They have complex symptoms in terms of joint movements. The pioneering exoskeleton for children needed to be adaptable. And tailor its function to a particular child’s symptoms.
After focusing on industrial robotics, Garcia Armada shifted his focus to pediatrics. He invented an adjustable titanium suit connected to a battery. It used a network of small motors with sensors, software and machinery. The resulting mechanical joints intelligently adapt to each child’s movement. Incidentally, it can improve mental well-being and sociability.
In 2013, Garcia Armada founded Marsi Bionics, to further develop that technology. In 2021, he obtained medical clearance. Since then, he has sold devices to hospitals in Spain and Mexico.