CONCORD, MA --(BUSINESS WIRE)--An innovative alternative to wheelchairs designed in SolidWorks 3D CAD software lets paralyzed people do what was previously considered impossible: stand, walk, and climb stairs.
Designed by Israeli consultancy Taga for medical device company Argo Medical Technologies, Ltd., the ReWalk exoskeleton is a light, wearable brace support suit featuring DC motors at the joints, rechargeable batteries, an array of sensors, and a computer-based control system. Users wear a backpack device and braces on their legs, and select the activity they want from a remote control. A sensor on the chest determines the torso's angle and guides the legs to move forward or backward to maintain balance.
"There are a lot of challenges to design something that imitates a human walking, including universal fit for a broad range of user height and weight measurements, as well as a low profile that is both contemporary and user friendly," said Assaf Barel, design engineer at Taga. "SolidWorks enabled us to be creative in addressing all of these challenges. The finished product is strong, compact, lightweight, and works like a human body."
Step in the Right Direction
Taga standardized on SolidWorks for all new product development, including a range of medical, consumer, and equipment products for customers like General Electric, Phillips, and Comverse. Taga used SolidWorks to design the ReWalk based on a rough prototype from its inventor, Dr. Amit Goffer. SolidWorks gave engineers the time and capability to discover innovative approaches to translating the original prototype into a working model.
SolidWorks simplified design iterations and helped ensure accuracy as engineers constantly refined concepts to accommodate variables such as leg brace length, joint angle range, and the amount of pressure the joints can withstand. SolidWorks' mass properties functionality enabled Taga engineers to see exact weight calculations as they designed the exoskeleton to be light enough to maneuver. COSMOSXpress allowed engineers to test the strength and durability of different load-bearing components to ensure the exoskeleton would hold up when users bend, stand up, and climb stairs.
All of Taga's subcontractors use SolidWorks software, which, along with eDrawings email-enabled design communication tool, makes collaboration easy and smooth. Having teams work on native file formats also reduces costly and time-consuming errors.
The ReWalk exoskeleton is currently undergoing clinical trials. Taga expects it to be ready for general availability in 2009.
"The ReWalk is truly a product that will have a significant impact on people's lives," said Rainer Gawlick, SolidWorks' vice president of worldwide marketing. "Making ambulatory mobility a reality for those with lower limb disabilities is a huge medical advance, and one that we at SolidWorks are proud to be a part of."
Taga relies on authorized SolidWorks reseller Systematics, Ltd. for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
Founded in Tel-Aviv in 2001, Taga partners with companies of all sizes to design innovative solutions that meet their needs. Products designed and engineered by Taga's professional team have sold for billions of dollars worldwide and won industry and design awards.
Founded in 1979, Systematics is a leading distributor and integrator of IT solutions in Israel. Its expanding solution portfolio includes geographic information systems (GIS), CAD, technical computing and model-based design, collaboration, and maintenance management. Systematics serves thousands of customers from all sectors of the Israeli economy, including: public, private, military and defense, manufacturing, education, and finance.
SolidWorks Corp., a Dassault Systèmes S.A. (Nasdaq: DASTY, Euronext Paris: #13065, DSY.PA) company, develops and markets software for design, analysis, and product data management. It is the leading supplier of 3D CAD technology, giving teams intuitive, high-performing software that helps them design better products. For the latest news, information, or an online demonstration, visit the SolidWorks Web site or call 1-800-693-9000 (outside of North America, call +1-978-371-5000).