The Intelligent Telepresence and Assistive Devices (iTAD) Project is focused on the innovation of novel assistive medical robotics. Some of our goals include increasing accessibility to nurses, doctors, and families, assisting in daily activities, and supporting independent living. Past iTAD projects have been an iTAD robot (a mobile robot and arm- an assistive device to carry instruments), as well as a Versatile Assistive Roaming/Walking Device (VARS) (assisting individuals with mild disabilities to keep active).
This year, we are starting something new; an Exoskeletal Assisted Walking Device (EAWa). The exoskeleton will be a lower extremity, wearable robot to augment power and assist with walking. The EAWa 1.0 (EXO 1) is being designed and developed this year to be an independent, high-powered exoskeleton. The EAWa Lite 1.0 (EXO Lite 1.0) is being designed and developed with the hopes of an eventual working prototype. The EXO Lite 1.o is being designed as a lightweight, low-powered exoskeleton to be used together with a body weight support system.
Those who are unable to walk independently typically undergo physiotherapy to restore and improve movement as well as strengthen and maintain muscle mass. The EAWa project provides opportunity for those requiring physiotherapy to practice the motions of walking without excessive energy exertion. Aside from providing an assistive device for patients, nurses and physiotherapists tend to work long and strenuous hours. The innovation of such devices provides a solution to those who are becoming over-worked in the field of healthcare.
We are in the preliminary design stages – this requires experimentation with the use of electronic and mechanical equipment (motors, sensors, materiel). Eventually, there will be a working prototype.
Our project provides opportunities for innovation and creativity. Participating students now and in the future get to apply all the knowledge that they have learned throughout their undergraduate degree in a way that will have a lasting impact. The goal is to increase accessibility to those living with walking disabilities and to help healthcare workers support their patients more easily and efficiently. In the hopes of working with local hospitals, funding for the iTAD EAWa project will advance current medical technology for those who may need it in the future.
Funding will be used for preliminary testing and prototypes for the EAWa design. Building materials, motors, actuators, and sensors are to be purchased throughout the term as the design stage progresses.