(Yicai Global) Nov. 21 -- "Rehabilitation and walking-aid robots are expected to be introduced soon and become popular within the next a couple of years," said Gu Jie, co-founder and CEO of Fourier Intelligent Technology Co.
"Among medical robots, surgical robots are technically difficult and highly risky to make," Gu told Yicai Global. "In the short term, it's difficult to catch up with other countries."
The Shanghai-based company's M2 upper-limb intelligent rehabilitation robot can simulate various real-life mechanical scenarios and combine upper-limb assessment exercises with analysis to provide goal-directed training to help patients strengthen their upper-limb functions.
Yicai Global saw two sets of models used for testing and assembling purposes in the company's office and experienced a variety of scenarios where an M2 robot is used. The robot can help its user to complete assisted exercises based on how much power they have used and provide the resistance movement to control the inertia of the object.
The company itself designs all of the core components and all of the algorithms are independent innovations, Xu Zhenhua, the company's co-founder and CTO, told Yicai Global. "Improving the operating speed and integrating that with the corresponding mechanical algorithms have become our core technology and helped us avoid the risk of patent protection," he said.
The company also has a higher goal. "At present robots targeting businesses are mainly used to collect data, and medical equipment can bring cash flows," Xu said. "Our ultimate goal is to produce exoskeletons."
Exoskeletons are a wearable device that can boost human capability. Wearing one gives people superhuman powers like that of 'Iron Man.' For example, Kubota, an exoskeleton designed by Panasonic Corp., can help shipbuilders lift heavy objects of 30 to 100 kilograms in weight.
Research on exoskeleton algorithms is still under way, said Xu. New products are expected to be rolled out early next year. They hope to help hemiplegic patients to restore their lower-limb walking ability by replacing wheelchairs with the new products.
Gu is very confident about the future. "We believe that this technology can change a lot of industries. There is a lot of room for imagination and there are some technical barriers. The exoskeleton robot technology is rising and developing rapidly, and the gap between domestic and foreign technology is not very big, which offers China an opportunity to overtake other countries."