Bionik Labs joins forces with Wistron on low-cost exoskeleton tech

Wistron and Bionik will base their new, low-cost exoskeleton products on the latter's ARKE device.

Robotics player Bionik Laboratories has inked a joint development deal with Wistron Corporation to create and commercialize affordable exoskeleton products for the lower body.

The new devices will be based on Bionik’s in-development ARKE Lower Body Exoskeleton. Made of carbon fiber, aluminum and steel, the device is designed to help wheelchair-bound paraplegics walk and rehabilitate. While Bionik’s first goal is to get the device into rehabilitation environments, it eventually wants to make it available for use in the home.

Under the agreement, the duo will focus on developing “lower-body assistive robotic technologies” for the consumer home products market, according to a statement.

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Their first target? Asia, they said, because of a projected increase in the aging population that will result in a higher demand for low-cost assistive technologies.

"This partnership with Wistron represents a tremendous opportunity for Bionik to bring our technology to a massive consumer audience,” said Michael Prywata, Bionik chief operating officer, in the statement.

 "Our leading robotic technologies are already available in more than 200 facilities across the globe, but this partnership with Wistron will allow us to provide access to a much larger consumer market,” Prywata said.

In July 2015, Bionik raised $13.1 million in a private placement, which it pegged for the development of the ARKE exoskeleton. The company markets a range of rehabilitation devices for the arm, hand and wrist in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., and has a device in the clinic for ankle rehabilitation.