The head of private medical company B-Temia has announced that New Brunswick’s Institute of BioMedical Engineering will host the world's first Centre for Research in Dermoskeletics on the University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus.

Dermoskeletics is the science that studies the interaction between the human body and its environment while assisted with a skin-type motorized mechanism.

Stéphane Bédard, president and CEO of B-Temia said together they will develop a new generation of wearable robotics to help those with a limited capacity of walking. 

“It helps people to walk more and better, a kind of motorized prosthesis. It will move exactly as the user wants to move,” says Bédard.


Bédard hopes the devices will be used by Canadian Forces in the field within the next few years. (Revision Military)

He says UNB’s knowledge in the military field and proximity to CFB Gagetown was a factor in the decision.

He says a soldier wears about 150 pounds in equipment and gear which causes a lack of mobility as well as increased injuries.

“We are working with [the Canadian Forces] to finalize the design and then trying to put that device in the field within the next couple of years,” he said.

Bédard himself injured his knee in the 1990’s. He said he was barely able to walk for two years. For him, the project is the combination of his interests in rehabilitation and robotics.

A large portion of the UNB internships dedicated to the project come from the Mitacs-Accelerate internships funded from the province.

The provincial government invested $297,500 into two Mitacs programs for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows allowing for 35 research and development internships and fellowships - 33 through Mitacs-Accelerate and two through Mitacs Elevate.

“Our scientists and engineers are developing cutting-edge research at the forefront of the biomedical engineering and kinesiology fields,” said Eddy Campbell, president of UNB. “Faculty and graduate students in the Centre for Research in Dermoskeletics will be able to work with health-care professionals to prevent occupational injuries and to improve the mobility and quality of life for those living with neurological conditions.”