SHENYANG, June 22 (Xinhua) -- In the morning, Li Guohui, 66, picked up sundry sensors and artificial joints, and deftly assembled himself, fixing a wearable exoskeleton robot securely to his thigh.
Powering up to enhance his strength and stability, the outer frame with bionics design slowly but potently lifted his legs up, allowing him to start his day with fewer difficulties.
The retiree living in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning Province, has been haunted by cerebral apoplexy hemiplegia since 2021, which makes him unable to move freely.
Li has undergone exhausting rehabilitation training in hospital, during which he accepted doctors' suggestion to try the exoskeleton robot out to assist his movement.
"The exoskeleton significantly improves the rehabilitation, which allows me to walk around and do housework on my own, rather than under the care of my family or caregivers," Li said, adding that standing on his own feet helped him regain confidence.
Although an exoskeleton robot for daily use had been the stuff of science fiction, it is making its way into households to help more and more disabled people as well as senior people with inconvenience like Li, as worldwide robot manufacturers saw the huge market potential.
Among them was Siasun Robot and Automation Co., Ltd., a Chinese leading robot maker and manufacturer of the exoskeleton robot purchased by Li's family.
The structural and functional design and component material selection of exoskeleton robots have strong particularity, said Bao Renren, a technical director with the company.
Such a product needs to go through a long process to gain market approval and certification, let alone the high cost of R&D, Bao added.
"To cope with the marketing barriers, we have kept optimizing in order to provide customers with more affordable intelligent products with superior performance," said Bao.
China's fast-growing aging population who are prone to osteoporosis and muscle degeneration and atrophy are among the customer base of intelligent health care equipment, including the exoskeleton, he said.
The Shenyang-based company has grown into China's largest robot production base, whose products have been exported to more than 30 countries and regions around the world.
At the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, China-made exoskeleton robots claimed the global spotlight.
Equipped with a customized exoskeleton robot designed by the Shenyang Institute of Automation, under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Peng Yuanyuan, China's torchbearer waved a friendly greeting to spectators during the relay, transferring the torch from her natural arm to the robotic arm without the slightest time lag.
China's robot industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with the sector's revenue exceeding 100 billion yuan (about 14.9 billion U.S. dollars) in 2020 and robot density in manufacturing nearly doubling the global average, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. ■