The goal of Dutch Robotics project Mindwalker is to develop an exoskeleton for people with non-functioning lower limbs. This exoskeleton is a functional wearable robot which can allow disabled people to walk again, when they are wearing this "suit".
The project combines 3 different fields of science to achieve this ambitious goal:
- Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technologies measure and digitize brainwaves. Not being able to walk does not mean that the brain does not still try to send waves to the legs. These brain waves can be captured by using dry EEG caps.
- A Virtual Reality (VR) Training environment will be developed where the exoskeleton can be tested in a simulation. This simulation will trigger correct brain control signals from the patient and it provides a basis for self-training at home.
- The Exoskeleton Structure and Control will entail the actual construction of the mechanism that will support the patient. It will be designed to support the weight of an adult and will be able to execute different walking modalities.
The technologies that will be developed by the hand of the Mindwalker project will be assessed and validated in formal clinics, which will give new insights to possible improvements. The end product should be a fully commercial system, which is able to assist the patient in everyday life.