The teams behind the Parker Hannifin Indego® exoskeleton and the SynTouch BioTac® sensors have won 2013 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Innovator Awards. The awards distinguish innovators in fields such as technology, medicine, space exploration, and automotive design.
The Indego is the commercial version of the exoskeleton that was developed at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee. It is a personal mobility device that is controlled with postural changes as gyroscopes and accelerometers sense the user’s balance. The exoskeleton serves as a mechanical brace for the lower limbs, helping people with spinal cord injuries, stroke, and multiple sclerosis to stand and walk by providing torque to the hips and knees.
“I am incredibly proud to lead the development of Indego and congratulate the entire team on this exciting win,” said Achilleas Dorotheou, vice president and head of human motion and control for Parker Hannifin, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. “I thank Vanderbilt University, Shepherd Center [Atlanta, Georgia,] and our clinical trial patients for their partnership….”
The BioTac® is a sensing technology that mimics the tactile abilities and features of the human finger, improving the functionality of prosthetic hands. It consists of a rigid core containing the electronics, surrounded by a silicone skin filled with a fluid to give compliance.
“The magazine’s editors believe our work is a life-changing idea that will help shape the future, and we’re proud to have that recognition,” said Jeremy Fishel, PhD, co-recipient and research director of SynTouch, Los Angeles, California.