Marsi Bionics is a tech-based startup that develops robotic aids for locomotion and gait rehabilitation.
Spun off from the Centre for Automation and Robotics (CAR) – a joint centre between the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) – over 20 years of robot locomotion know-how has been transferred to this SME, founded in 2013.
60 million people in the world have lost the ability to walk, of which 17 million are children affected by a number of neurological diseases. While wheelchair-bound, they suffer from a number of physiological and psychological side effects. Their quality of life could be greatly improved if walking could be repaired, restored or rehabilitated.
Marsi Bionics’ solution is gait exoskeletons; robotic devices powered by motors that are attached to a person in order to assist in walking.
There are five companies in the market that develop wearable gait exoskeletons, all of whose products are created to assist the in-hospital gait training of adult paraplegics. They reproduce a pre-programmed gait pattern and require additional crutches or walkers to help the postural stability, and only cover 3 per cent of the potential market of wheelchair users. Buying one of these requires an investment between €70 and €130.
Marsi Bionics’ ATLAS2020 paediatric exoskeleton is the first and only wearable paediatric gait exoskeleton in the market.
The exoskeletons have internationally-patented intelligent compliant actuation technology, which mimics the biological muscle-tendon unit. This allows gait therapy to be personalised, adapting over time to each patient’s symptomatology and illness progression. This unique feature is what differentiates Marsi Bionics from other similar companies.
Marsi Bionics™ wearable exoskeletons are targeted to patients affected by neuromuscular diseases, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and also active aging of the elderly. These constitute 95 per cent of the potential market. There are three models currently in the market:
- ATLAS Pediatric Series: designed for children affected by NMDs, CP, etc. These are the first and only gait exoskeletons for children in the market
- MBGold: designed for the elderly
- MBActive Knee: active knee orthosis for rehabilitation from a stroke or polio
Social and economic impacts of the technology include:
- Life expectancy of children affected by NMDs increased by 50 per cent
- Quality of life improved for affected families
- Reduction of personnel costs by an estimated €20,000 per year per family
- A €32m reduction of healthcare costs for governments per country per year
Marsi Bionics exoskeletons have been already evaluated in clinical trials with success.