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U of Toronto start-up develops robotic exoskeleton to help disabled children walk

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: November 29th, 2017

A University of Toronto (U of T) start-up has developed a robotic exoskeleton to help children suffering from disabilities move without a wheelchair.

Co-founded by U of T researchers Manmeet Maggu and Rahul Udasi, Trexo Robotics recently won first prize in a pitch competition run by the philanthropic arm of Sunnybrook Hospital in partnership with the U of T’s Health Innovation Hub and other organizations.

Trexo was inspired by Maggu’s nine-year-old nephew Praneit, who suffers from cerebral palsy. In summer of 2016, Maggu and Udasi took their prototype to Maggu’s brother in India and tried out the device on the little boy.

“Watching Praneit take his first steps using our device was an incredibly proud moment for us,” says Maggu.            

The researchers formed Trexo with assistance from U of T’s multiple innovation hubs. After their time spent at the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), they participated in the IoT accelerator run by Techstars in New York to further their business plan. Maggu says the prize from the U of T pitch competition will go towards reaching the commercial market.

“Our product is really unique,” he says. “There’s a health care aspect, computer science and the engineering, so we benefited a lot from being involved with all these different accelerators at U of T.”

Trexo is now at a point where it has access to the U.S. market, including the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “They saw our device and were really excited about it,” says Maggu. “We’re planning to start pilot studies with them early next year.”


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