An Exoskeleton makes a child's dream of walking real It is a robotic frame that attaches to the trunk and legs of a child, weighs 14 kilos and has five motors in each leg. But the first exoskeleton for children with problems to move is not a simple machine with motors, it is a whole 'muscular' artificial system with tendons, sensors and receivers, capable of perceiving the intention of movement of a child and of giving back the hope of someday to get to walk. The robot was built in Spain by the company Masic Bionics and seeks to help restore mobility to children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a degenerative genetic disease that affects motor neurons in the spinal cord. Those who suffer from it lose the ability to walk and suffer from muscle deterioration. "This lack of walking capacity generates complications such as scoliosis and the curvature of the spine. It can cause lung dysfunction, affecting respiratory capacity. This robotic device has a significant impact on their life expectancy. After eight years of testing and overcoming financial obstacles, this week the Hospital in Barcelona incorporated it into its rehabilitation service. The child mobilizes the joints, reduces their problems of muscular atrophy and at the same time strengthens and tones the thoracic muscles, which are what sustain the spine. The exoskeleton completes what the child wants to do; his own intention is the one that is moving him. The emotional impact of this project, he says, is the most rewarding. A Colombian woman who has lived in Spain for 18 years, still remembers the day she saw her daughter Sara, 5 years old, on her feet for the first time. "He was very aware of the legs, but in the end, it was his hands that hurt because the vertigo was so much that he squeezed them a lot. He was afraid, but he was excited to know that he was going to be able to give even two steps without having to lean on. Then she let go of the walker, and while walking she could touch her face and hair, very exciting, "she says. His other daughter, Sofia, 7, also suffers from this disease. Both were part of the group of 12 children who were selected in that country to perform the tests. In January the therapies will begin in form, which they will do three times a week. "It will mean that they can walk alone, feel more autonomy, look in a mirror, comb their hair, turn on a light or get on an elevator. It's hope, "says Sanchez. That's how it works The device, which can be used by children from three to nine years old, provides strength to the musculature. The articulations of the device are sensorized, which allows programming the walking pattern for each child. The doctor has an app where the physiological values of the child are incorporated (such as leg lengths, joint range, limits on retractions) and, simply by pressing a button, the program automatically generates an appropriate walking pattern for that child.