The BBVA Foundation has recognised with a Leonardo Grant the research of Josep Maria Font, from the UPC Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), to create a personalised robotic exoskeleton to help people with spinal injuries to walk again.
The ABLE exoskeleton, designed and developed in the Biomechanical Engineering Lab (BIOMEC) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), and directed by the researcher Josep Maria Font, is low cost, light, personalised, and easy to use. It enables people with spinal injuries to gain the mobility they need to walk. It uses only essential mechanisms and sensors to facilitate the functional recover of walking in patients with spinal injuries and has three modular components: a knee actuator system that acts as artificial muscle, a sensor situated in the tibia region that detects the user’s intention, and a rucksack containing the electronics and the battery. The researcher who is a member of the UPC Biomedical Engineering Research Centre, has received one of the Leonardo Grants to give new impetus to the project.
Leonardo Grants are awarded by the BBVA Foundation to directly support the work of researchers and cultural creators aged 30 to 45 who, at an intermediate stage in their career, develop an innovative project in one of eleven specialised fields or activities covered by the call for applications. In the 2018 edition, which received 1,521 applications, a total of 64 grants were awarded, each for 40,000 euros.