EXOTrainer introduces wearable gait exoskeletons for the therapy of children affected by Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). SMA is caused by a genetic defect, the disease manifests in various degrees of severity, which all have in common progressive muscle wasting and mobility impairment.
Although it is a rare disease, SMA is the most common genetic cause of infant death. There is still no known cure for SMA, treatments mainly focus on maintaining the physical state of the patient, as well as on attempting to delay the onset of side effects like a deformation of the spine and the loss of range of motion. Walking is the key to retard the evolution of these side effects and EXOTrainer is expected to provide an improved therapy approach through wearable gait exoskeletons.
EXOTrainer builds on available technology, addressing children as a new target group, particularly because current commercial devices are targeted to adult paraplegics. EXOTrainer will improve the quality of life of children affected by SMA and increase their life expectancy. The new therapy can potentially relieve each family of up to 25.000 € spent on welfare costs per year. It may even reduce expenditures of the healthcare systems through an improved and personalized therapy.