suitX, also known as U.S. Robotics, Berkeley, California, is the winner of the $1 million top prize in the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Award for Good competition for its pediatric medical exoskeleton. suitX competed in a pool of 664 entries from 121 countries to a shortlist of 20 entries and finally down to three finalists, who presented their entries before the judges in Dubai, UAE, on February 6. In addition to the cash prize, suitX presented its exoskeleton to the World Government Summit conference of 3,000-plus world dignitaries which took place February 8-10, also in Dubai.
The pediatric exoskeleton builds on U.S. Robotics’ Phoenix platform, with several modifications in hardware and software to improve the acquisition of locomotion skills by children. The device will help children affected by neurological conditions like cerebral palsy and spina bifida. The company’s goal is to develop technologies that lead to an exoskeleton that quickly promotes walking skills among children during the narrow timeframe when they more easily acquire locomotion skills.
“We are honored to be the winner from among this extraordinary group of competitors,” said Homayoon Kazerooni, PhD, suitX CEO. “By aiming at neurologically disabled children we can make the difference between children spending their lives in a wheelchair or actually standing and walking. We are going to use this cash prize to create a versatile and accessible pediatric exoskeleton.”
Kazerooni was the founder of Ekso Bionics (originally Berkeley Bionics), Berkeley. He also developed the Berkeley Lower Extremities Exoskeleton (BLEEX), the ExoHiker, and ExoClimber, as well as the HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier), which is used for military applications.