Project budget7 476 119 €
ERDF amount4 431 376 €
According to Beckhung (2008) 54% of children with Cerebral Palsy (CP) can walk without aids,16% of patients will need assistive devices to walk and 30% are not able to walk at 5 years of age. This means that 46% of CP patients can possibly benefit from innovative technology like exoskeleton, and approximately 4000 children (6500 in EU) below the age of 10. Usual possibilities for adults are hospital or home use. Patients can be brought to a hospital, equipped with exoskeleton rehabilitation devices and staffed with trained medical professionals. In the second option, patients may purchase an exoskeleton device for home use. The patient and the primary caregivers must be trained in the proper equipment operations. Today, for children, mechatronic approaches to stimulate walking are still subject to a lack of international standards, protocols and specific exoskeleton. The common challenge is to contribute to improve the delivery of technological innovation, in the sectors of health.
This project, MOTION, addresses two challenges :
(i) to advance development, validation and adoption of bionic rehabilitation technology for children with neurological disorders to improve quality of life;
(ii) to set up a transregional network to transfer this rehabilitation technology and related knowledge from research to practical application by linking with industry, healthcare professionals and users and to interact with policy makers for the creation of supportive frameworks.
If upcoming medical trials prove that rehabilitation with exoskeleton suits leads to a lower total medical costs insurance companies will cover part of the bill and offer the possibility that hundreds of rehabilitation centers open or upgrade their current equipment to include exoskeleton devices which would result in the sale of thousands of units
Advanced development and validation of bionic rehabilitation technology for children with neurological disorders, called CP here :
- An autonomous and secure lower body exoskeleton for children
- A Smart-textile, a functional, comfortable, attractive garment that integrates the monitoring sensors suitable for children.This will be usable to all applications where monitoring is needed
- Statistical analysis of physiological and biomechanical measurements for practitioners and scientific community
- Base technology to applicable to other lower body disorders such as lower limb paraplegia
To set up a transregional network to transfer technology and related knowledge from research to practical application by linking research, industry, healthcare professionals and users:
- Web-based and face-to-face training packages for health professionals and carers and dedicated to stakeholder community for communication
- A map on assistive technology dedicated to health authorities and SMEs
Cross border approach
Exoskeletons are very complicated machines. This complexity is mainly due to the fact that they have to interact closely with patients. Therefore a complex mechanical design and complex control algorithms are needed. This also implies that you need experts with various backgrounds ranging from mechanical design and engineers specialized in control algorithms to physiotherapists and movement scientists in order to build and test a successful exoskeleton. It’s quite hard to find all these experts in one country. The 2 Seas area is fortunate in that it houses a complete cluster of experts, competences, and structures: gait, movement (ALL) ; Orthosis and prosthesis (MOBILAB), design and manufacturing (KENT) ; Smart garments (CENTEXBEL); Signal processing(HEI) ; Biomechanics (MOBILAB); Clinical and Diagnostic centers (Pulderbos,GREENWICH); Industrial manufacture and commercialization (AHSN, ); European Centers of Excellence in research (UPTEX); healthcare education (CCCU).