European firm Active Space Technologies has received a contract within the Eurostars Programme to develop a new robotic orthopaedic orthosis for elbow joints, based on aerospace technology.
Under the €190,000 contract, Active Space Technologies will collaborate with Italy's STAM, Dutch company Bierens Machinefabrieken and Portugal-based Quantum Ortopédicos to develop the proposed orthosis.
The company said the orthoses would help non-amputees to increase movement in their injured limbs by providing some control, and help them carry out basic tasks that were otherwise restricted due to the lack of movement.
Elbow orthoses are also said to be coming to the rescue of patients suffering from elbow and upper extremity pathology, including brachial plexus nerve injuries.
Under the project, the company will focus on developing the mechanical and electromechanical devices, alongside the electronics and control algorithms, which it believes would provide an ergonomic lightweight and powerful effector.
Commenting on the contract, the technical responsible for the project Rui Sousa said; "the elbow orthosis acts as an exoskeleton supporting and enhancing ergonomic functions and has obvious potential for military and industrial applications."
"Active Space Technologies has been developing technologies mainly for the aerospace market, and this is project will allow us to apply a range of different expertise within the company," Sousa said.
The company said that patients from all parts of the globe will be benefited with the new elbow orthosis, once the project is completed in 2014.
Active Space Technologies also said that the new orthopedic appliance will support patients' forearm and elbow joints, while providing them with dynamic controlled actuation under load conditions and weight carrying, precluding disability and promoting rehabilitation.
Eurostars Programme is a European joint programme, co-funded by the European Communities and 33 EUREKA member countries, which aims to support the R&D performing SMEs that dedicate at least 10% of their turnover or full-time equivalent (FTE) to research activities.