When Gable Systems first approached us to create an app which controls the human exoskeleton they were developing, our immediate thought was the P-5000 Power Loader Ripley used in Aliens to get one over on the Xenomorph. Thankfully this thought was short-lived as our clients revealed their state of the art robot designed with a far more important purpose in mind.
Gable, which stands for ‘Gait and Balance,’ is a Dutch invention which helps people who are learning to walk again, whether that be because of a condition like cerebral palsy; a medical emergency such as a stroke; or an injury, say to the spinal cord.
The device has a seat which supports the user’s body weight, giving full control of the pelvis, whilst their upper body is secured with a harness. Below the waist is where it all happens with two robotic limbs which are strapped to the patient’s legs, allowing movement in any natural direction. The unit is controlled by the patient’s physiotherapist so precise movements can be made, enabling rehabilitation and balance training, and offers full physical support making them feel safe and more confident to explore their own body movement.
The mechanics are housed in a structure behind the user and are designed such that the whole unit glides effortlessly, adding no undue pressure to the patient. It also enables the unit to be used over a treadmill or other device.
Next to such an outstanding bit of kit our task looked simple. We were charged with designing an android app that controlled the robot and that’s what we delivered.
Gable Systems is currently a functional prototype with a sleek app offering patients and physiotherapists an intuitive and easy to use experience.
Unfortunately though, it’s of no use whatsoever if you want to extradite a man-eating alien from your spaceship.
Maybe next time eh?