Alexa is available for plenty of devices and it is a personal digital assistant developed by Amazon. It is available on plenty of devices such as smartphones, fridges or alarm clocks. Now, the personal assistant is also available on an exoskeleton.
Bionik Laboratories to use Alexa
Bionik Laboratories has created an exoskeleton named Arke and the company integrated Alexa to it. This way, the users of the exoskeleton can give voice commands to Alexa such as take a step or stand.
Arke is still in clinical development and so far is used together with an app so as to control it through a tablet. The exoskeleton has sensors which detect when the user shifts his/her weight and the motors placed in the backpack are activated, helping the person move.
The addition of the personal assistant could be very useful for those in rehabilitation programs.
Michal Prywata releases a statement for The Verge
Co-founder of Bionik, Michal Prywata said that the exoskeleton uses sensors to detect when people want to stand or sit down, go to the right or to the left. He also added that it might be a little difficult at first for the patient until they learn how to use the device. Therefore, the use of Alexa will help them tremendously.
What has been achieved so far
Arke has no microphones built in so far, so this feature will need to be implemented. Also users would need an earshot device in order to access Alexa from their app or smartphone.
Before adding Alexa, Arke will need to be cleared for clinical use. Testing showed that the two devices work together. There are some health risks involved.
For example, there is no room for voice interpreting errors. Sometimes we use Alexa and ask a certain song and the app misinterprets what we say. This cannot happen when using the exoskeleton.