Hand exoskeleton enables paralyzed people to grasp
A spin-off from EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne) has developed an exoskeleton that enables people with paralyzed hands to grasp and release objects again. Tests in hospitals and rehabilitation centers have already been successful.
The exoskeleton is intended for people who can no longer or only partially move a hand after a stroke or accident. The device, developed by the Lausanne spin-off Emovo Care, consists of cables attached to the back of the hand that function like tendons along the fingers and are connected to a motor.
When the patient activates the device via a remote control, the artificial tendons exert a slight pressure on the index and middle fingers. This allows him to grasp a small ball, a glass or a spoon, for example - and to control the strength of the grip independently. A second button on the remote control gives the opposite command, causing the fingers to stretch and release the object.
The goal, however, is not to restore the full functionality of the hands, the EPFL said. Rather, the goal is to enable patients to perform a few basic movements on their own again.
Only recently, the spin-off's development received the ISO certification required for the marketing of medical devices. Funds are currently being raised to bring the device to market next year.