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August 28, 2012

Move Aside, Iron Man: Robotic Exoskeletons Provide Mobility for the Disabled

The story of Tony Stark, whether told in comics, cartoons or movies, is about a man whose body is broken, and who turns to technology to help him. The billionaire industrialist is wounded and, in order to save his heart, he creates a robotic exoskeleton. This high-tech piece of equipment also enhances his strength and mobility and, at least once in the comics, it allowed him to walk when he was paralyzed from the waist down. This all seems like good old-fashioned science fiction, until you realize that a company is currently working on a robotic exoskeleton that will provide mobility for disabled people.

Quantum International is working on robotic, battery-powered suits that will allow paraplegic patients to stand and walk. The key is to create a lightweight and intuitive exoskeleton that will not look jarring to the average person and will be a cost-effective option for patients. Another potential use for the exoskeletons would be to aid able-bodied workers in performing difficult or strenuous tasks.

The robotics company sees this as a potentially lucrative market, though it realizes there is a great deal of research and development that must go into these exoskeletons. Quantum (News - Alert) specializes in healthcare technology and robotics, and is a leader in the European robotics industry, having worked with the Warsaw-based Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements.

This partnership should yield many opportunities for innovation and will allow Quantum to build interest from both business and consumers. Hopefully, with enough interest and research, the goal can become a reality, and people who once thought they could never walk again will find themselves strolling down the aisle. That would make Quantum real superheroes to millions.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli

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