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Drives from maxon help people walk

April 2017 News

At the first ever Cybathlon recently held in Zurich, people with paraplegia raced on foot. Aided by the world’s best exoskeletons, they competed against each other on an obstacle course to show the public how far advanced technology has come in this area. Motors from maxon motor played a central part.

Robotic suits have to be both powerful and lightweight. Too much weight would cause the battery to drain in no time. This presents a big challenge to developers. Most motors that are strong enough to power an exoskeleton are large and heavy. This is why engineers turned to the company that already develops the drives for NASA’s Mars Rovers, maxon motor. Maxon drives are powerful, lightweight and energy efficient, meaning that they can conserve battery power and are very durable. “We spent decades perfecting our motors,” says maxon CEO, Eugen Elmiger.” A lot of money has gone into research and development but it was worth it.”

Eighty teams from all over the world participated in the Cybathlon games. The machine-assisted competitors competed against one another in six disciplines: prosthetic legs, prosthetic arms, exoskeletons, motorised wheelchairs, bicycles with muscle stimulation, and virtual racing using thought control. What’s not allowed at the Paralympics is an absolute must at the Cybathlon: the use of state-of-the-art technology. “Our aim with the Cybathlon is to break down barriers between the general public, people with disabilities, and scientists,” says Professor Robert Riener, who invented the Cybathlon.

For more information contact Hans Burri, DNH Tradeserve, +27 (0)11 468 2722, [email protected], www.dnhtrade.co.za



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