Dream of Walking Again Comes True

A team of researchers in Sharif Incubator at Mowaffaghian research center has developed an exoskeleton robot, Exoped, to enable the paraplegic patients to walk again. The robot which is the result of two years of R&D activity provides the ability of walking, sitting and standing for the people with disability or weakness in lower extremities.  The team consists of researchers and alumni from Sharif University of Technology and Tarbiat Modarres University and has founded a startup company, Pedasys Co., to pursue the development of assistive and rehabilitation technologies.

Saeed Behzadipour, a faculty member of Sharif and co-founder of Pedasys, believes the exoskeletal robotics is among the most pursued medical technologies in the recent years and has good potentials for development in Iran due to the popularity of robotics technology research and high demand from the health system. Exoped is going to be introduced in clinical and later in personal versions, he added. The clinical version is instrumented to provide more detailed analysis of the patient’s performance while the personal version, which is still under development, will be an assistive device for applications at home or in public places.

Exoped is worn over the normal clothes and secured to the body using a few cuffs and bands. It actuates the hip and knee joints using electrical motors that provide a coordinated motion to the joints in order to realize normal sit-to-stand, stand-to-sit and walking, Sadjad Ozgoli the head of the control group and a faculty member of Tarbiat Modarres Universtiy explained. It also transfers part of the patient’s weight to the ground so that the user can walk easily using an arm cane or parallel, he added.

Regaining the ability to walk for a disabled person has a significant impact on his/her self-esteem and morale in addition to physical conditions such as improving the digestive, cardiovascular, urinary systems, and even bedsores, Mostafa Havaeji stated. The CEO of Pedasys also mentions that in addition to therapeutic effects, the life quality improvement by increasing the independency of disabled people in their daily life is among the benefits of this technology.

Mostafa Naghipour, the sales manager and co-founder of the company, mentioned that Exoped may be used by paraplegics or those with any disability in their lower extremities as long as they have strong arms to maintain their balance. The clinical version is now available to research clinics in the areas of neuro-rehab, orthopedics, physio and occupational therapy and neuroscience. In terms of the price, he added that it is offered at almost one third of the equivalent imported product.