The Power of Robotics
Culture26 February 2020
A paraplegic sportsman who wrote to Hyundai asking if the company could help him walk again has taken his first steps with the aid of a robotic exoskeleton.
Para-archer Jun-beom Park, who is currently ranked seventh in the world, contacted Hyundai last summer to ask if their robotics technology could help him walk again. Jun-beom was involved in an accident on the way to school more than a decade ago in which he damaged his thoracic vertebrae. He began using a wheelchair in 2008 but thanks to an exoskeleton suit developed by Hyundai Motors Robotics Lab in Seoul, South Korea, the archery star recently took his first steps in 11 years – walking across a room to hug his mum.
Jun-beom’s story is at the centre of Hyundai’s vision to develop technology where robots and humans can work together to redefine mobility.
“Our lab is eager to develop a medical exoskeleton, H-MEX, as one of the mobility solutions for paraplegics to improve their daily life,” said Dong Jin Hyun, head of Hyundai’s Robotics Lab. “Hyundai Motor plans to fulfil its brand vision through robotics for future mobility. With our effort on robotics, we want to contribute to progress for humanity.”
The successful test of Jun-beom’s robotic exoskeleton follows the launch of the Hyundai Vest Exoskeleton (H-VEX) which was designed for industrial workers who spend much of the workday reaching over their heads.
“This represents an important first step for Hyundai Motor’s robotics technology, and demonstrates a future vision enabled by the company’s technological innovation,” said WonhongCho, chief marketing officer of Hyundai Motor Company. “We will continually strive to improve the lives of customers by offering them diverse human-centred technological solutions encompassing smart mobility devices and services.”
The extraordinary moment Jun-beom Park walks over to his mum for the first time in more than 10 years - with the help of a robotic exoskeleton.