Wearable assistive device for patients with DMD
Solid Biosciences is proudly partnering with Silicon Valley’s SRI International and Superflex Inc., along with other engineering and disease experts to develop a line of soft, wearable assistive devices for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Engaging the patient community
Our goal is to develop devices with functional and potential therapeutic benefits that help patients perform day-to-day activities with greater ease. Research is currently being carried out at Superflex’s robotics lab and several clinics, and is guided by the patient community.
Solid conceived the program with the help of a coalition of leading robotics specialists, clinicians and muscle biologists, which assessed patients’ physical needs and surveyed current state-of-the-art technology. To help inform design and functionality, we worked closely with the advocacy group Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD), a sponsor of the initial development phase.
As the program progresses, Solid continues to gain critical feedback from clinicians, parents, and children with muscular dystrophy to guide prototype development, with the ultimate goal of ensuring widespread benefit and access to the technology.
Employing robotic technologies originally developed by SRI International, Solid aims to produce a series of wearable assistive devices for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The innovations driving this program are derived from cutting-edge military technologies that power soft exoskeletons to offset muscle fatigue and augment muscle strength.
Solid’s assistive devices are being designed for wearer comfort, durability, energy efficiency and affordability.
The hardware is composed of three key technologies: force generating actuators (or motors), electrically controlled clutches and comfortable harnesses.
Force generating actuators, called Flex Drive, offer low profile active assistance that can offer different types of support. The clutches can hold a position, such as a raised arm, with minimal battery power.
Electrically Controlled Clutches
Clutches act as springs that can store energy to maintain positions, such as a raised arm, with minimal battery power.
Harness technology, called Flex Grip, anchors the actuators and clutches to the body and ensures that any forces generated are spread evenly across an area, preventing pinching or uncomfortable amounts of pressure on a small region.
Assistive Device Components
Another key design approach has been to make assistive devices modular through a series of complementary components. This strategy will hopefully allow users to mix and match components according to their individual needs. In addition, this strategy has the potential to enable the release of individual components as soon as they are ready without having to wait until the entire project is completed, speeding availability to the community. These components include:
Upper Body Mobility and Functional support
|Assist Bring hand to face||Access surroundings|
Lower Body Stretch Assist
Stretching is the most important preventative therapy for fibrosis. The device will be designed to actively stretch posterior muscles and tendons by providing adjustable dynamic tension.
A dynamic lower body support system
Designed to dramatically improve mobility and quality of life for boys who have lost the ability to walk. This device is a long-term goal for Solid Biosciences.
- Forward movement