Walking with robots

Last week, I went to Carleton University’s Human Computer Interaction building to interview Richard Beranek, the CEO and co-founder of Ottawa-based rehabilitation robotics company GaitTronics, a two-year-old spin-off from the university’s Advanced Biomechatronics and Locomotion Laboratory. With industrial design support from local consultancy The Federal, Beranek and his colleagues have created SoloWalk, which is essentially a robot that can help somebody recovering from hip-replacement surgery — and a wide range of other medical procedures and conditions — stand and walk. This technology could revolutionize the way health-care workers complete the tricky but vital task of getting frail or elderly patients up and moving. It could also make early and daily movement after an operation safer for patients, and reduce the risks of injury among caregivers. My article about SoloWalk will be published in the fall issue of Carleton’s alumni magazine.

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