The exoskeleton of the Symbitron+ team made its debut at a Cybathlon, last Friday and Saturday. A Cybathlon is a competition around the use of advanced technological aids for human activity. The Twente/Delft team took part in the Cybathlon Experience, which was held during RehaCare in Düsseldorf, world's largest trade fair for rehabilitation (care).
"Racing is fun, of course, but it is especially interesting to participate in such a competition as it gives us insights into the functioning of the exoskeleton in all kinds of circumstances", team leader Edwin van Asseldonk stated ahead of the tournament. Edwin is an associate professor at the Department of Biomechanical Engineering at the University of Twente. "With the race, we will get a lot of feedback on possibilities and impossibilities, which will help us in the further development."
The team was certainly challenged firmly, as the exoskeleton showed some technical issues during Friday's challenges. The team's technicians had to work until late to get exoskeleton back on track for Saturday.
"In the end, we succeeded in all different events", says Bram van Gemeren, who is a physiotherapist at Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation. "The exoskeleton functioned particularly well at the slope and stairs events." Project March, a student team from Delft, took the tournaments victory, collecting more points overall.
For the Symbitron+ team, the Cybathlon Experience in Düsseldorf was the first serious test on the road to Cybathlon 2020. ETH Zürich is the organizer of world's largest competition between technological aids. Edwin van Asseldonk: "The experience that we gained in Düsseldorf will certainly help us in our further preparations."
In the Symbitron+ project, researchers of the University of Twente, together with colleagues from Roessingh Rehabilitation Center and TU Delft work on an exoskeleton that supports people with paraplegia in walking. The project mainly focuses on improving the symbiotic interaction between the user and the exoskeleton.