Josep Maria Font Lagunes, doctor from the Biomedical Engineering Research Center (CREB) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, received the Leonardo Scholarship from the BBVA Foundation in 2018 for his project ‘Customized robotic exoskeleton for gait rehabilitation’.
Font’s work was based on the development of a low-cost, lightweight and intuitive robotic exoskeleton for patients with spinal cord injury. After its validation in the laboratory, its clinical validation and market are being worked upon. Now, what is the end goal of the project? Well then, it’s about developing a predictive simulation method to personalize the design of the robotic exoskeleton controller and adapt it to each patient’s needs, which is of critical importance because anyone with a spinal cord injury No two patients are alike.
The use of this type of predictive equipment is the solution to adapt the control of the exoskeleton to the degree of mobility, anatomical structure and other specific needs of the user. Josep Maria Font hopes that their simulation method will allow them to virtually test different control strategies, select the optimal control parameters for a specific subject, and determine which patients can improve their gait patterns by using the exoskeleton. do.
Josep María Font Llagúnes (Agramant, Lleida, 1979) is a PhD adjunct professor at the Biomedical Engineering Research Center (CREB) of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Received the title of Industrial Engineering by UPC (2002) for receiving mention for the best record of promotion. Later, he studied Master’s in Bioengineering (2004) and obtained his PhD (cum laude) from the University of Girona (2007).
In 2017, he received the Agustin de Betancourt y Molina Medal from the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAI), as well as the Outstanding Researcher Award from the NIH National Center for Simulation in Rehabilitation Research (NCSRR).
“It is personalized for a very specific target of patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries with spinal cord injuries in the thoracic lumbar region that preserve hip function, at the knee level with the help of They can walk again” explained Josep Maria Font Llagunes himself four years ago, in which he said that “we expect to have this device on the market in a year and a half, more or less, because now we are ready to make a commercial device. are developing, a device that end users can buy”.
“We added an electric motor to the knee, which acts as an artificial muscle, allowing the knee to flex and extend during walking, and also a sensor that detects the user’s intention to take a step.” is,” he told us how it works. Specific.
Researchers from the University of La Coruña and the University of Extremadura have participated in the development of the prototype. So far, the device has been tested on a patient with ML from the Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de La Coruña. There are plans to do the same in patients at the Gutmann Institute. The research group, based at the Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingeniería Tecnica Industrial de Barcelona (ETSEIB), is linked to the Biomechanical Engineering Research Center (CREB) of the UPC, which is part of the Center for Innovation and Technology (CIT UPC).