German research organization, New Zealand university partner to develop bionic elbow joint

German research organization Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft recently announced its partnership with the University of Auckland in New Zealand to develop a novel arm orthosis for elbows called the “Bionic Joint.” The 3-year project was announced at the Fraunhofer-Forum Berlin.

According to a press release, researchers will develop an exoskeleton that is able to analyze and support elbow movement. This requires a compact, lightweight, intuitive arm orthosis.

“Our strategic alliances with partners in other countries are based on the scientific benefits they bring to Fraunhofer and the positive impulses they generate for research both in Germany and their own country,” Reimund Neugebauer, MD, president of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, said in the press release. “International collaborative research produces the best results when both partners aspire to excellence in their respective fields and have a strong record of innovation.”

Professor Reimund Neugebauer, president of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, left, is shown with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft


“We are delighted and honored to be chosen as equally qualified partners in this collaborative project with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft,” Peter Hunter, MNZM, DPhil Oxon, ME, FRSNZ FRS, professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute and manager of the project for University of Auckland, said in the press release.

“What is important is to understand the necessary physical exertion and help the muscles to support it. By developing this novel exoskeleton, we want to enable patients to carry out everyday tasks,” Urs Schneider, MD, head of Fraunhofer IPA’s Biomechatronic Systems department, said in the press release.

Hunter added, “None of the arm orthosis solutions proposed to date has been transformed into a marketable product. If we succeed, it would be a milestone in bionic engineering.”


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