Centre d’innovació i Tecnologia BARCELONATECH



The researcher Josep Maria Font, director of the Biomechanics Division of the Research Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CREB UPC), has been honoured with one of the young researcher awards from the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain (RAI), for the ABLE project, a robotic exoskeleton to assist in walking and rehabilitation of people with spinal injuries, and for his contributions to the robotics field.

The jury of the Young Researchers 2017 awards of the RAI highlighted the research that Josep Maria Font carries out, “in a context of high international activity and technology transfer”, and stressed his scientific contributions in robotics in the area of mobile robotics, biomechanics and multibody dynamics and neurorehabilitation engineering. Likewise, they recognized the value of his Assistive Biorobotic Low-cost Exoskeleton (ABLE) design, for which two patents have been registered relating to the most relevant technological innovations of the device.

The biorobotic exoskeleton ABLE is a low-cost, light, personalized system that is easy to use. It has only the mechanisms and sensors required to facilitate functional recovery of walking in patients with spine injuries and it has three modular components: a system for moving the knee that carries out the same function as an artificial muscle; a sensor situated in the area of the tibia that detects the user’s intention, and a backpack that contains the electronics and the battery.

This affordable device will enable patients with spinal injuries to play an active role in their own recovery, promoting their independence and extending their rehabilitation to their homes. The final impact will be an improvement in quality of life and a significant reduction in costs for the individual and the health system. The project has been recognized by the CaixaImpulse programme, promoted by the La Caixa Obra Social and Caixa Capital Risc.