Samsung’s EX1 wearable robot is designed to improve mobility in older adults


I tend to be wary when consumer electronics corporations dip their toes into the world of robotics. The category offers an attention grabbing shorthand for companies attempting to bolster their future outlook. More often than not, the systems rolled out on-stage are little more than vaporware.

Samsung has mostly played it close to the belt when discussing their robotics ambitions. Sure, Ballie may actually launch somewhere down the road, but what of those more advanced dishwashing and food preparing robots? I’m certainly not holding my breath.

Back in 2019, the company showcased a trio of robots at CES. The wearable exoskeleton was the most compelling of the bunch for two main reasons. First, it’s a realistic product. After all, there are already a number of these solutions on the market. Second, they had working units at the event. I tried one on, and it did, indeed assist me while walking up stairs in the company’s booth.

Sahmyook University this week showcased some of the on-going work the Seoul-based research institute is doing in conjection with Samsung on the robot exosuit front. There aren’t a ton of details surrounding EX1(not to be confused with an old Samsung digital camera by the same name) at the moment, but there are some promising results here.

The system falls squarely in the growing category of robotic age-tech. The hip-worn device is designed specifically to enhance balance and movement among older people. Muscle mass tends to decline as you get older, impacting your walking and increasing the risk of falls.

“Using the wearable robot EX1, older adults can effectively perform simple exercises such as walking and fitness, thereby improving their quality of life,” says research lead, Professor Wan-hee Lee. “EX1 can increase their participation in exercise and serve as a guideline for exercising the right way.”

As noted, the device is designed for both assistive wear and guided exercises.  Per the study, stride length improved by more than 12%, while propulsion increased around 21% in subjects who wore EX1 for 50 minutes a day, three times a week for a month.

“Our findings provide a solid foundation for developing various types of improved and advanced wearable robots,” Lee. “This will further expand the global wearable robot market, promoting further research and commercialization.”

It’s not certain when or if the Samsung EX1 might actually hit the market. Even so, anticipate assistive wearable robotics becoming a lot more prevalent over the next decade.



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