This post from our colleagues at Twente via the Ubervigilent MEDGADGET. Note it is designed for post-stroke patients, but imagine it as a broader assist device. We at SALSA are!
LOPES (LOwer-extremity Powered ExoSkeleton) is a 10-year old project from the Netherlands' University of Twente whose goal is to develop a robotic device to assess motor skills and assist in teaching stroke victims how to walk again. Unlike traditional rehabilitative devices such as leg braces, or even the upcoming ReWalk, the newest version of LOPES allows for eight degrees of freedoms, which provides the legs better movement and less confined therapy.
LOPES researchers hope to get the device into rehabilitation clinics by early 2012, with a mid-2012 target for introduction into the market.
Until then, the researchers are working on making LOPES more compact and easier to adjust for more personalized training and therapy. In addition to LOPES helping stroke victims, the gait data from LOPES users will be used to help design walking algorithms for autonomous exoskeletons.
Check out the video below from the Dutch government of LOPES in action: