Helping Kids With Cerebral Palsy Walk with Wearable Robots

Published by Darron Toy on

[electronic music] Until you have a sprained
ankle or torn ACL, most of us go about our lives without even thinking about walking. Cerebral palsy is caused
by an injury to the brain or central nervous system
around the time of birth. Cerebral palsy often results
in abnormal walking pattern. The goal of this research
project is to definitively demonstrate that simple,
lightweight, wearable robots can improve walking efficiency in children with cerebral palsy. Our goal is to use this as a training tool so that one day they can walk without it. [driving electronic music] [somber piano music] When Jackson was born, he was three pounds and eleven ounces. Times would come for Jackson
to maybe start to crawl, or to walk, and he just wouldn’t. Looking back, I can see
that those were signs of cerebral palsy, but we didn’t know that he had that at the time. I noticed when we were
playing on the playground, my friends were faster than me, because my legs are
kind of still recovering from my last surgery I had. There are three primary
standard of care treatments. The first is a highly
invasive orthopedic surgery; while effective at reducing
the most severe cases, it doesn’t solve the issue. By demonstrating the
utility of this technology, we may be able to design
these early interventions. That’s what we’re going for
right now with this study. The Biomechatronics Lab
is a lab that I started here on campus about a year ago. Here, in my lab, we’re
designing pediatric-specific wearable devices, so
pediatric exoskeletons. Wearable robotics are
powered devices that augment human function, so they’re
used to improve performance, improve mobility, they can
enhance rehabilitation; basically, anything that
works synergistically with the human is a wearable robot. So for our design, we focus on making it as lightweight as possible. What this means is we kind of sacrifice some of the modularity. The set-up time required is increased, because everything’s so customized. Without that customization,
it’s very likely that we’re making walking more difficult. It amazes me, because
this is an exceedingly simple system: everything
about it is very basic, yet it is effective. Be close to zero.
Okay. Now you see, it works.
How much time? Yeah, two minutes. We are ready. We have a walk with the assisted device providing a certain level of assistance, and we repeat the process
while we change how much assistance we’re providing. We’re measuring how the body moves, but also how much energy
the body is consuming. We measure that by the
face mask, so we can record how much oxygen someone is breathing, how much CO2 they’re producing. We use motion-capture cameras
and reflective markers to quantify how their joints are moving. Starting new capture. All right, now we’re walking back, nice job. Alright, get ready, Jackson. We’re going to slow you
down in three, two, one. There you go, alright. It’s good to be Superman, huh? How’re you doing? How’d that one feel? Was it rough, or was it okay? It was okay. It’s really important for us
to come up with a solution that will span across this
continuum of walking ability. We have three participants partaking in the study right now. One of them is Jackson,
and we have Waylon. These two participants
are partaking in the study so we can answer this early
intervention question. So, how young would the use of a wearable robotic device make sense? Really, we want to come up with
a solution that has utility for young children who
are still able to walk relatively normally, as well
as for older individuals like Mariah, who have
more trouble walking. Unfortunately, cerebral
palsy is a condition with no known cure, and there’s
really no anticipated cure. But what we are trying
to do is make it possible for someone with cerebral
palsy to live a more normal, or ideally a completely normal, life. In 10 years, I think wearable exoskeletons will be not only increasing the mobility, how they navigate around their community, but also in improving
their underlying functions. So that, one day, they
can walk without it. They don’t have their choice that they were born with
cerebral palsy or not, but we have a responsibility,
I think, to them to make it the best life possible. I think one of the greatest
things that Jackson has taught be about life
is that nothing’s too hard. And that even when you have
things that hold you back or set you back, that that doesn’t mean you can get any less out of life. [energetic electronic music]


Prismatic Fanatic · February 14, 2019 at 8:15 pm

Awww, sure, it pulls on your heartstrings💔 Robots will people-jack you. Keep willingly welcoming your captors & see what happens.. .

MrGrayStripe · February 14, 2019 at 8:15 pm

First lol, but cool

Sm03le Br00t · February 14, 2019 at 8:18 pm

Thanks for thr great content !!! This inspires me, my class and all the people that watch you. Keep on and think free😎👊

Jason Burke · February 14, 2019 at 8:49 pm

Next stop, Adeptus Mechanicus

Karl · February 14, 2019 at 9:33 pm

Am I too late to get in before all the Facebook educated anti-vax, everything-is-a-conspiracy, lets-drink-diesel-for-the-health-befits, 7-billion-humans-and-all-their-energy-use-could-never-effect-our-tiny-planet, moronic, single digit IQ, dumbass fvckloops who are going to compare this smartly-programmed-by-humans inanimate object to a sentient AI. Oh, I'm too late, how predictably depressing and too similar to chimpanzees we actually are.

nick hiles · February 14, 2019 at 9:53 pm

What if they did the robotics in a physical therapy situation while wearing an oxygen mask giving them increased amount of oxygen so the muscles could actually heal well after having received stem cells and see if that cocktail wouldn't work interesting

Gaurav Karamchandani · February 15, 2019 at 12:42 am

May God bless them ….

Chandraprakash Ntc · February 15, 2019 at 2:57 am


William three11 · February 15, 2019 at 6:37 am

Thats amazing!

Stirbis69 · February 15, 2019 at 6:47 am

No one cared who I was till I put on the mask

meat pocket 123 · February 16, 2019 at 2:41 pm

Ho disliked the vid thats sad my LIKE BUTTON just turned blue

Pug Tato · February 16, 2019 at 3:15 pm


GilbertIs Playing · February 16, 2019 at 3:56 pm

The future is coming. These kid with CP are going to learn to walk with the exoskeleton. I heard military use exoskeleton for people who can’t walk normal.

Youtube-Zin · February 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm

Next,robots taking over the world🤦🏾‍♂️

Vastic · February 16, 2019 at 8:12 pm

Like who actually dislikes this shit😡

Cinnamon Pixel · February 16, 2019 at 9:45 pm

This restored my faith in humanity

Meme Man · February 16, 2019 at 9:55 pm

So robots are gonna take over cripples?

Sandra affarano · February 17, 2019 at 12:28 am

They are not your friends if they laugh they are just bad Accomplice

Stephanie Patschorke · February 17, 2019 at 7:01 am

Its coming an its going to be bad

ツyoSwifty · February 17, 2019 at 6:12 pm

All I had to do was become disabled to become iron Man

Chi Ni Mon · February 18, 2019 at 12:41 am

Awesome tech love it… hrlp these angels live life to the max
But remember every advancement in tech theirs a darkside
Data collected is being used to "humanize a.i and robotics i fear what they are making in the dark 🤔🤔🤔

ZGBoss · February 18, 2019 at 12:44 pm

I love what you do

Mj Smith · February 18, 2019 at 2:39 pm

I almost cried

Meme Machine · February 18, 2019 at 9:11 pm

Good to see science is being put towards something useful

STEPH Haring · February 19, 2019 at 3:00 am

Great work since is a big help to all

eddy · February 19, 2019 at 8:01 am

I look up to this !!

Matthew Phillips · February 19, 2019 at 10:48 am

Continue the good work!