2019 Feb 10. Project PawsAble

A dogease life participated in WearRAcon’s 2019 Innovation Challenge by submitting a proposal for design, development, and commercialization of an exoskeleton for canines: Project PawsAble. We were not selected as a finalist, but will be attending WearRAcon this year in Arizona, March 26-28.

PawsAble aims to improve mobility in dogs by adapting current mobility assistive technology for humans and by innovating new technology specific to canines. Some specifics of the proposed device included:

  • AI learning of sitting, lying, walking, squatting in dogs
  • High-speed encoders that sense the ground and adapt movement, and soft joint actuators designed for flexibility and agility of 4-legged frames
  • Accelerometers and gyroscopes to activate joints for stability when balance is compromised
  • Assistive motion sensors triggered by natural initiation of movement (e.g., leaning to one side)
  • Weight distribution away from affected bone joints to the ground, chest, or device  
  • Wearable and soft robotics to increase comfort for extended wear and when lying/sitting
  • New integration of hardware and software that is unique to canines.

We are excited to attend the conference and look forward to networking with experts and innovators in bionic mobility support. We will be asking a lot of questions about how to adapt the technology for dogs.

Feel free to send us your questions to ask at the conference and we’ll find an answer! @wearablerobots #wearRAcon19 www.wearablerobotics.com

2 Replies to “2019 Feb 10. Project PawsAble”

  1. How are AI advances affecting the central nervous system’s ability for a person, or animal, to move particular parts of their body?

    1. Good question! I plan to learn more about AI and wearable robotics at WearRAcon. As I understand it, currently AI is used to “train” mechanical devices that provide mobility assistance, rather than to affect the nervous system directly. The devices “learn” the user’s movements and provide support. I thought this short read on AI was interesting: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/12/will-mimicking-the-nervous-system-advance-artificial-intelligence.html. It notes “true” AI would be machines that are intelligent vs machines that are intelligently programmed. And speaking of the central nervous system, you also might find this impressive: https://futurism.com/mind-controlled-robotic-arm-johnny-matheny. Johnny controls his prosthetic arm with neural activity from the brain. This is definitely worth pursuing in dogs someday, wouldn’t you think? 🙂 In the mean time, we can apply what we’ve learned in wearable robotics in humans to dogs because we’ve made so much progress there. And after that…canine mind-controlled mobility!

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