At the end of June 2016 I received a call from a friend who told me to contact the engineers of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
This is how it all started.
At that time, I had hardly heard of these walking robots. The purpose of my presence was explained to me from our first meeting:
bring my contribution to the development of the Twiice exoskeleton as a disabled person, ex-circus artist and high-level athlete.
The next goal was the Cybathlon, the first Olympiad for cyborg athletes. Enthusiastic, with some pressure nonetheless, I began to familiarize myself with this device.
The first steps were uncertain. It took patience, strength and focus to maintain balance. Transferring weight from one foot to the other is especially difficult when you no longer feel and move your lower body.
I learned to handle the robot and after a month I was able to walk on my own, without assistance.
Little by little, we increased the difficulties and I managed to get up from a chair, pass a slalom, climb a hill and even stairs.
We are constantly working to improve our product and hope, within two to three years, to make this dream accessible to a large number of people who have to live in a wheelchair.
What is TWIICE?
TWIICE is a lower limb exoskeleton, which allows people with paraplegia to stand up and walk again.
What are the specificities of TWIICE?
Each handicap is unique and therefore requires special attention, which is why we have made TWIICE a personal and modular exoskeleton, intended to adapt to different morphologies and pathologies.
The vision behind TWIICE
By betting on simplicity, we've made TWIICE safer, lighter and more affordable.
Walking on the moon, the dream of mankind, quite simply walking, the dream of thousands of people in wheelchairs. And this April 2017 days I walked far, far away!
After the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva where the Twiice team was awarded the Audience Prize and the special prize of the "Deutscher Erfinderverband eV" we are heading to Tokyo: MEDTEC Japan, the largest trade fair in Asia dedicated to design and manufacture of medical devices.
The exhibition in Tokyo Big Sight shows annual growth, a sign that smart health, biomedical technology and new technology advancements in the field of disability are working wonders.
Getting our exoskeleton ready for the trip was no easy feat. But once there the satisfaction was great. The TWIICE exoskeleton was the star of the Swiss pavilion, with public demonstrations and detailed commentary in English and Japanese for a captivated and moved audience, including the Swiss Ambassador, Mr. Parroz.
In one week, we had the honor to present our project to Medtec, Tokyo University of Technology and the Swiss Embassy. Our apprehensions at the start were quickly erased thanks to the particularly warm welcome from the Japanese. Once the Asian body language was acquired, it even became possible to communicate without words! Nodding, little bow, big bow, smiles, winks and hand movements, rather intuitive if you know how to learn by imitation.
The Swiss Pavilion of Medtec Japan 2017 was organized by the Office of Science and Technology of the Embassy of Switzerland in Japan. It was located in a privileged location, in the center of the Hall. Visibility was high and the bright and open design of the Swiss pavilion added to its attractiveness. We thus had an excellent platform to present and promote our activities and establish new partnerships.
Robotics, what great hope and new perspectives for people with disabilities. The results achieved in such a short time are impressive and show us that we are on the right track.
The Twiice exoskeleton prevents deterioration of health and represents the promise of a better life. The various motors act as a replacement for the muscles and transmit the force necessary to keep the patient upright and allow him to move all his joints. Numerous sensors and an on-board computer ensure the stability and coordination of the whole. Scalable and modular, it adapts to the person's morphology and follows each stage of their growth from a child growing up with a disability.
In two or three years our prototype should be able to come onto the market. I am delighted to see the smiles of all those who, like me, dream of rediscovering the vertical world!