Latest in Gear

Image credit: Bionik Laboratories

Amazon's Alexa can now steer exoskeletons

"Alexa, I'm ready to walk."
635 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Bionik Laboratories

Exoskeletons don't come cheap and they're not one size fits all, making them a daunting prospect for the average buyer. But, some companies are working towards changing that. In December, Hyundai promised to make the suits cheaper. And, researchers are using machine learning to make them more accessible for people with mobility issues. That's where Bionik Laboratories comes in. The startup is adding Amazon's Alexa to its Arke lower-body exoskeleton, allowing wearers to control it with their voice. The exoskeleton is mainly aimed at those who have suffered spinal injuries. Although, its lower-body support mechanism could also aid stroke and traumatic brain injury victims, claims the company.

Gallery: Arke lower-body exoskeleton | 7 Photos

With Alexa integration, users will be able to bark orders at the suit -- such as "Alexa, I'm ready to stand" or "Alexa, I'm ready to walk." This will activate the sensors in Arke's feet and joints, allowing it to carry out the actions. However, there is a slight niggle: Currently the functionality only works if you're within range of an Amazon Echo. Additionally, this version is just a prototype -- it still has to pass clinical trials and FDA approvals before a public launch.

Alexa is proving a versatile AI, but pairing it with an exoskeleton is a bold move. After all, people currently use their Amazon Echo to skip Charlie Puth tracks or order toilet roll. Whether or not it will make for a reliable assistant for those with physical impairments (where every command becomes critical), remains to be seen.

Bionik Laboratories co-founder Michal Prywata recently told Fortune that the exoskeleton could hit the market by 2019.

In this article: alexa, amazon, exoskeleton, gadgetry, gadgets, gear
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
635 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

The best consoles, games and accessories for students

View
Sony and Yamaha are making a self-driving cart for theme parks

Sony and Yamaha are making a self-driving cart for theme parks

View
Trump tries to overturn ruling stopping him from blocking Twitter users

Trump tries to overturn ruling stopping him from blocking Twitter users

View
Divorce dispute leads to accusation of crime in space

Divorce dispute leads to accusation of crime in space

View
Scientists bioprint living tissue in a matter of seconds

Scientists bioprint living tissue in a matter of seconds

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr