A Teen Team of Not Impossible volunteers in California are spending their summer building an exoskeleton "Robot Walker" to help kids with Cerebral Palsy and other challenges.
When Not Impossible invited Los Angeles teenager Joel Simonoff to sit-in with PhDs and CEOs for our initial meeting of the Robot Walker team, we hardly anticipated what would happen next.
With an original mission of helping kids with cerebral palsy by building a low-cost gait-trainer (current models range from $300,000 - $500,000) using a 3D-printed exoskeleton, some robotic and mechanical components and a treadmill and harness, Simonoff offered up his Granada Hills High School robotics club as the initial build team.
"Kids Helping Kids" - we liked it. And, when summer holidays struck, it started:
Robot Walker Build Team: Joel Simonoff, Jake Mattinson, Sabir Muhammad, Travis Wight, Collin Taylor, Abhe Murthy, Adhikara Budhyhartono and Sidney Son, Ariana Levitt & Adam Howitt.
This weekend, to share their progress and receive much-welcomed guidance and advice, the high-school team will get a visit from team heavy-hitters Dylan Edwards, PhD, PT - the Director of Burke Rehabilitation Center's Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation and Human Motor Control Laboratory, and David Putrino, PhD, PT - Burke's Director of Telemedicine and Virtual Rehabilitation.
"We are incredibly excited because we have started to have the motors run simulated patterns. We are very excited to see that, even at full speed, the motor stops on a dime, and they are very accurate down to a few tenths of a degree." - Joel Simonoff (Robot Walker Build Team Leader and High School Student)
Teens being teens, some of the more interesting discoveries have been revelations born from necessity. One of the key indicators on the ever-looming white board continues to shape the way we viewed the usual skills of this demographic:
"You can build an exoskeleton, but you can't order a pizza?"