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SG Robotics, Eyeing the Global #1 Position in Wearable Robots
Developers and Suppliers of WalkON, Angelegs
2017년 12월 18일 (월) 00:56:03 J Yoo robot@irobotnews.com

   
▲Commemorative ceremony of SG Robotics and investment agreement of LG Electronics. The left side of the photo is SG Robotics Founder & CEO Kyung Cheol Kong.
Founded in 2014, SG Robotics(www.sg-robotics.com)  is a wearable robot start-up company founded by Sogang University Professor Kyung Cheol Kong. The original name of the company was “SG Mechatronics,” but after receiving billions of won in investment from LG Electronics, “SG Mechatronics” was folded and a new wearable robot startup, SG Robotics was launched. Currently Professor Kyung Cheol Kong is the Chief Executive Officer.

When Professor Kong began his professorship at Sogang University In 2011, he created a robot system control laboratory and threw himself into the field of wearable robots. Regarding the establishment of SG Robotics, Prof. Gong explained, “There are limits to conducting robotics research at an academic institution; hardware needs to be dealt with, and a professor needs to show vision to his students, but the vision one shows to his staff and the vision one shows to his students is destined to differ. I believe that robotics research occurs at the meeting point of these two perspectives. The staff are more important to the perfection of the finished products and hardware safety, while for schools, forward-looking research and a vision of competitive spirit is more important. I believe that both are needed for a synergistic effect.”

   
▲The photo shows a Korean player at the time of the Cybathlon competition in Switzerland 2016
Last October, SG Robotics participated at the world’s first Cybathlon held in Switzerland, where Prof. Gong, and a team led by Prof. Dong Wook Ra, from Severance Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Center, formed a joint team to enter in the EXO Race (Exoskeleton wearable robot) category. They were thrown into the spotlight when they came in third, after Germany and the United States. For the competition, Prof. Gong and SG used the powered exoskeleton “WalkON” (developed for disabled people) to achieve their stellar results. In February, the company entered their Angelegs wearable robot at the “UAE AI& Robotics Award for Good,” where they received third place out of 1000 robot contestants, earning official recognition both inside and out of Korea for their unparalleled technological superiority.

   
▲Angelegs
SG's WalkON and Angelegs were developed for people with complete paralysis and those with lower limb disability and/or muscle weakness, respectively.

As shown by its third-place finish at Cybathlon, WalkON can walk on flat surfaces, stairs, and slopes, while being able to maneuver stepping stones and other tricky surfaces. Angelegs was developed to support people with weak muscles or those with difficulty walking. The company sought to eliminate any discomfort when the robot is worn by adopting a non-resistance drive mechanism; it also has an autonomous walking recognition function which recognizes the steps of the user to match them. The length of the robot can be adjusted according to the user’s gait.

This year, SG Robotics’ prospects became even brighter when it was selected by the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement to carry out a new project related to the Wearable Walking Robot. Moreover, SG Robotics’ rehabilitation robots that are in development now stand to shine even brighter as Korea’s society becomes rapidly aging.

   
▲WalkON
With support offered from the 3D CAD company, Dassault Systèmes, SG is laying solid foundations for global advancement. SG Robotics became the first Korean company that specializes in the development and manufacturing of wearable robots to be selected in the Dassault Systèmes’ 3D modeling application SOLIDWORKS global start-up program. The SOLIDWORKS start-up support program is designed to help start-up companies implement their groundbreaking ideas into actual products through SOLIDWORKS.

“This SOLIDWORKS startup support program will be a big help to us in implementing a variety of wearable robot ideas,” Prof. Kong said. He continued, “We are making every effort to speed up THE commercialization of wearable robots and raise the bar in the competitiveness of Korean products in the global market.

According to one statistic, the number of people with complete paralysis in Korea is about 65,000; among them, less than 10% can wear a wearable robot. On the other hand, as we approach an aging society, the wearable robots market is considerably larger for the elderly demographic, who exhibit discomfort due to partial disabilities.

Prof. Kong emphasized, "Wearable robots require certification or licensing, so there is also a need to develop a policy plan by which to sell the products," while urging more government support. In addition, he added that, as of yet, the wearable robot is being produced more from the perspective of the suppliers themselves, rather than the consumers, and that in the future there will be more heated efforts to develop the products from the point of the consumers.

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