A Little Miracle: The First "Bionic Armor" for Children

The world’s first exoskeleton

What is an exoskeleton? Well, when we hear this complex term, we will be talking about robots. The first exoskeleton in the world with pediatric use aimed at working with spinal muscular atrophy is Spanish, and √Ālvaro, a boy of just five years old, already knows it well. This device created by the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) is used to walk, and tries to contribute those capacities that have been lost or never had. It is made of aluminum and titanium and has a weight of 12 kilograms, has no more and no less than ten motors and a computer for the coordination of movements, and it is made up of supports that are attached to the legs of the affected child. with a harness. For someone like little √Ālvaro, affected by this genetic and degenerative disease that is spinal muscular atrophy, this invention represents an absolute change in life and a new hope to see his dreams come true, and not complex or extravagant dreams, but equal to those of any normal kid, like playing soccer. This was stated by the child in one of the tests that the CSIC has carried out with him, in the company of his parents, to observe the improvements that the use of the exoskeleton entails.

The head of the Center for Automation and Robotics of the CSIC, Elena García, has stated that it is a system so that the almost 400,000 children affected by atrophy in the world can stand up. But the reality is much less joyous than seeing a child walk towards their parents thanks to the help of this device, and it is overshadowed by its high cost. The lack of funding to which science is subjected in Spain makes it very difficult to make this important prototype a complete reality. Perhaps our society should reflect on its priorities, and it is that the idea that children with degenerative genetic diseases can stop the progression of their disease thanks to the stimuli of a technological device and its physiotherapeutic effectiveness, should be priceless.

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