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  • Topic: Electroencephalography, Powered exoskeleton, International Space Station
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  • Published : February 6, 2013
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MINDWALKER: A BRAIN CONTROLLED LOWER LIMBS EXOSKELETON FOR REHABILITATION. POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS TO SPACE. ESA/ESTEC, NOORDWIJK, THE NETHERLANDS / 12 – 14 APRIL 2011 Gancet J.(1), Ilzkovitz M.(2), Cheron G.(3), Ivanenko Y.(4), van der Kooij H.(5), van der Helm F.(6), Zanow, F.(7) Thorsteinsson F.(8) (1) Space Applications Services N.V., Leuvensesteenweg 325, 1932 Zaventem, Belgium, Email: jeremi.gancet@spaceapplications.com

(2) Space Applications Services N.V., Leuvensesteenweg 325, 1932 Zaventem, Belgium, Email: michel.ilzkovitz@spaceapplications.com
(3) Université Libre de Bruxelles, LNMB, Institute of Movement Science, Campus ERASME - CP 640, Route de Lennik 808, 1070 Anderlecht, Belgium, Email: gcheron@ulb.ac.be (4) Fondazione Santa Lucia, Via Ardeatina 306, 00179 Roma, Italy, Email: y.ivanenko@hsantalucia.it

(5) University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology, Laboratory of Biomechanical Engineering, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands, Email: h.vanderkooij@utwente.nl (6) University of Delft, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, BioMechanical Engineering, Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD Delft, The Netherlands, Email: f.c.t.vanderhelm@tudelft.nl (7) eemagine Medical Imaging Solutions GmbH, Gubener Str. 47, Fabrik, 10243 Berlin, Germany, Email: frank.zanow@eemagine.com

(8) Ossur HF, Grjothals 5, 110 Reykjavik, Iceland,
Email: fthorsteinsson@ossur.com
ABSTRACT
MINDWALKER [1] is an EC FP7 funded project which aims at researching, designing and prototyping technologies for the seamless control of a lower limbs exoskeleton, relying on BNCI (Brain Neural Computer Interfaces) technologies. It promotes a non-invasive approach minimizing the cognitive load of the user for controlling the system. This paper first introduces the MINDWALKER projects, its challenges and solutions being considered. Then the paper presents a perspective of how related technologies, which primary application field deals with the rehabilitation of spinal cord injured (SCI) subjects, may be considered for applications in the space domain. 1. INTRODUCTION

A lack of mobility often leads to limited participation in social life. The purpose of MINDWALKER is to conceive a system empowering lower limbs disabled people with walking abilities that ultimately let them perform their usual daily activities in the most autonomous and natural manner. MINDWALKER is a 3 years EC FP7 funded project primarily addressing the condition of Spinal Cord Injured (SCI) adult patients (caused e.g. by an accident). Section 2 further introduces MINDWALKER, with a focus on the main research areas. Section 3 provides more insight regarding Brain Neural Computer Interfaces (BNCI) for robotics control applications. Then section 4 introduces perspectives of possible applications in space oriented domains, and manned spaceflights in particular. Then section 5 and 6 are respectively the conclusion and acknowledgment. 2. THE MINDWALKER PROJECT

2.1. Research areas and methodology
The project involves three main different fields of expertise (Fig. 1. below): 1. Non invasive BNCI technologies,
2. Exoskeleton mechatronics and control technologies,
3. Virtual Reality (VR) simulation for training technologies. Figure 1. MINDWALKER three main objectives
MINDWALKER main purpose is to research, develop
and integrate needed technologies in the three areas
above, and to eventually demonstrate a prototype of
BNCI controlled lower limbs exoskeleton to empower
SCI patients with walking ability. An important concern
is to preserve most cognitive capabilities available for
everyday life activities, and therefore to minimize the
required mental load to control the lower limbs
exoskeleton.
After multiple, iterative integration steps, the developed
technologies will be assessed and validated with the
support of a formal clinical evaluation procedure. This
will allow measuring the strengths and weaknesses of
the chosen approaches and to identify improvements
required to build...
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