Meet Rex, the robotic exoskeleton

Rex Bionics, an NZ start-up company, has developed the world’s first medical device that enables disabled users to walk.

The Rex Exoskeleton is a “real-life” pair of robotic legs that enables a user to stand, walk, move sideways, turn around and go up and down steps.

Users can also walk on flat, hard surfaces, including ramps and slopes.

Rex Bionics employed the latest robotic technologies in developing the pioneering life changing medical device.

Rex Bionics approached Formero to prototype the outer skin components, which covered the mechanisms of the device.

Formero’s team faced numerous prototyping challenges to develop covers that were highly complex, containing moving parts.

They not only had to be aesthetically pleasing, but highly accurate and waterproof.

Due to its strength and durability, Selective Laser Sintered (SLS), additively manufactured parts produced from Nylon 11 were selected for the covers of the Ankle, Knee, Leg and Hip joints.

Secondary processes were also applied to improve the quality of the surface finish and overall appearance.

The method of production changed from SLS to Silicone Tooling and Vacuum Casting as the requirements grew from a couple of units to over seven at a time. “The Formero prototype team made it really easy for us to work with them,” said Rex Bionics Chief Technology Officer, Richard Little.

The Exoskeleton medical device has taken seven years of development work and is now capable of supporting the full weight of a person.

It is simple enough for disabled users to self-transfer in and out of and to operate the robotic legs a joystick and control pad are used.

The Exoskeleton is now available in NZ and is expected to be launched internationally next year.

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