Zain Samdani

ExoHeal: Retraining Your Brain with Robots

Zain Samdani, Saudi Arabia Global finalist, 16-18

In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Zain (16) became interested in robotics at a young age and wondered how he could help the 200 million people living with disabilities worldwide. Many of these people suffer from lost motor function, and while some rehabilitation centers do offer robotic exoskeletons in recovery therapy, the equipment is often bulky, expensive, and focused only on assisting patients with regular exercise. Zain had a question: could an exoskeletal robot retrain a patient’s brain to develop new pathways and completely recover or improve their motor skills? Using the human hand for inspiration, Zain designed an exoskeletal robotic glove that mimics the movement of a sensor hand in parallel. After testing, he found that his own motor skills in the "learning" hand appeared to be improved after use. Featuring a design that’s lightweight and completely customizable to the wearer’s hands, Zain believes his "ExoHeal" device can help physically disabled patients around the world navigate more easily through life.