Robotic and intelligent shoes developed in Elche will reduce the fatigue of rescue teams

Nails smart and robotic shoes which will allow emergency personnel reduce fatigue, injury and strain and further developed in the province Alicante. It is the result of research developed by the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Unit Miguel Hernandez University (UMH) from ElcheThe Footwear Technology Center (Inescop) and the safety footwear company Panter de Callosa de Segura, which have joined forces in a pioneering project to market technological developments based on manufacturing an exoskeleton that attaches to the boots of work operators where is a high physical wear and tear as firemen forestry, military or long-term intervention emergency services.

The development of intelligent and sustainable intervention footwear through robotics and artificial intelligence technologies is the goal of the project ExoEPI, which strives to provide rescue team footwear solutions beyond the requirements set by Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) regulations, such as lightness, ergonomics, comfort and functionality, among others. A three-year project resulting in shoes that they facilitate mobility, reduce fatigue and energy consumption, especially in emergency situations where the success of the intervention requires great wear and tear and physical effort. This way, performance will increase and fatigue will decrease operator.

Robotic and intelligent system.Alex Dominguez

The system has been laboratory evaluated since r with very good results reduces oxygen consumption from 13% to 15% during a demanding march, carry a weight of 15 kilos. “The mechanism has an inertial magnetic sensor that detects the states of walking and stepping, and with the help of electronics, the movement is controlled. engine to help when the user needs it,” explains Manuel Herráiz, programmer of robotic shoes.

These boots were developed in collaboration with end users such as members of the fire station Alicante Provincial Council in San Vicente del Raspeig.

Reduction

According to a professor and researcher at the UMH Bioengineering Institute, Nicolas Garcia”intelligent” robotic shoes, allow to assist the movement while walking of the rescue forces, “which are always loaded a lot of weight and this will reduce their fatigue, which will make them either work more hours or be more rested. do your job much betterIn this way, the use of these shoes is also It will reduce the chances of accidents or injuries occurring during your events.

Currently, robotic shoes are completely autonomousthey feed battery interchangeable and have buttons setting the level of support provided by the bot. You can set both the strength it uses and the moment it is applied, it is customizable for each user.

project coordinator, Paqui Aranhead of R&D&i at Inescop, points out that it was a process of gathering information from the main end-users, which are firefighters, “analyzing their needs, what type of footwear they use, how much weight they carry during interventions or their working hours. “. The firemen’s leg was also analyzed adapt the hoof of this shoe to the user’s needs “and to make it as comfortable as possible, without forgetting that the materials are resistant to fire or water,” adds Arán.

Detail of the shoe’s robotic system.Alex Dominguez

Disasters and accidents

The Exoepi project focused on interventions in emergency situations in the face of natural disasters, accidents or fires that require the intervention of rescue teams. We must not forget that this type of operation They tend to last over time, leading to fatigue.responsible for promotion accidents in personnel such as overuse and repetitive motion injuries.

Personal protective equipment is therefore an essential tool for those who are part of the emergency services. The essential element is footwear. An effective response is required in the prevention, management and response to natural disasters, accidents, fires and emergencies that involve disruption of public order.

The shoe can be customized for each user and the force exerted can also be controlled.Alex Dominguez

Furthermore, they perform their work in situations stress, both in the development of its functions and in accompanying extreme temperature situations. The technological and innovative solution of the ExoEPI project is a robotic protective footwear for emergency equipment facilitates the movement of the legs during activity, delaying the onset of fatigue, reporting well-being for hours and improving performance.

Lack of regulations

There is still a process to make this prototype commercial. for that regulations must be approved, now missing, for this type of robotic systems, for what is in contact with certification and standardization committees at the European level develop it. That will be the case “few years”, Arán mentions how long it takes for these shoes to be on the market and meet regulations.

These robotic boots are intended for use in emergency situations such as forest fires the environment is very aggressive and with a high level of stress for operators.

A moment from the walking test.Alex Dominguez

But with modifications and adjustments, this system could also be applied to people with reduced mobility, such as those with tired legs, “and with this system they could extend their walks and it will be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s or stroke,” he points out. Professor Nicolás García.

This initiative, now in its final months of development, is funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) within strategic projects.

The consortium is completed by Panter, the leading Spanish company in the production of EPI protective footwear, which carries more than 35 years of investment in research, development and innovation improve the health and comfort of safety footwear users. Panther is represented by its CEO, Ramon Pajareswhich coordinates the company’s work and resources to develop the shoe, which includes the developed robotic system, design including unrivaled on the market.

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