Skip to content

TWIICE’s modular exoskeleton to reach the market in 2023

Life sciences

24 August 2022

TWIICE design a modular exoskeleton for the lower limbs that enable paralyzed people to stand up and walk again. A seed loan from the FIT will enable the start-up to conduct the clinical trial for its exoskeleton leading to its commercialization in 2023 in Europe, Canada, and the US.

Every year, around 250,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury resulting in permanent paraplegia. The primary means of mobility for people with paraplegia is the wheelchair, which exposes users to long-term health problems such as loss of bone density, cardiovascular problems, and reduced blood flow. To address these risks for people with mobility impairment, TWIICE‘s modular exoskeleton gives people back access to mobility and reconnects them to their community.

The light, motorized exoskeleton for the lower limbs allows people with a disability to stand up and walk again, even in case of complete paraplegia. The modular exoskeleton developed by this EPFL spin-off is one of the only devices capable of climbing stairs and is one of the lightest, with a weight of only 16 kg.

TWIICE’s innovation is based on a modular design and digital manufacturing methodology: the modular architecture of the exoskeleton allows TWIICE to offer a product that adapts to different pathologies, morphologies and activities such as ski touring.

The development of the modular exoskeleton started in Lausanne (canton of Vaud) in 2016 within the Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics Group at EPFL. In less than a year, the group of four PhD students and engineers developed the first version of TWIICE. Since then, TWIICE has won nearly four medals – three gold and two silver – at the Exoskeleton Olympics and first place in the Global Innovation Challenge life support competition.

In addition, the start-up has surrounded itself with a vast network of partners, including the Bâloise Group, the equipment manufacturers Sonceboz and Fischer Connectors, as well as various organizations in rehabilitation and physiotherapy, thus enabling TWIICE to position itself as a future major player in restoring mobility to disabled people.

Upcoming clinical trial and CE marking

The Tech Seed loan from the FIT will help fund the clinical trial, which is associated with the Swiss Paraplegic Centre and is designed to ensure that the physiological benefits are delivered safely to the patient. In addition, the 9-month trial will allow for the acquisition of the CE mark, which are essential for the commercialization of the exoskeleton.