Elena García Armada

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Global pioneer in paediatric robotics

Elena Garcia Armada is an industrial engineer, born in Valladolid in 1971. After receiving her doctorate in robotics, she began to design industry-oriented robots. However, in 2009 she met Daniela, a girl who was left with severe tetraplegia after a traffic accident. This meeting caused a radical change in her research career, and from then on she focused on making devices designed to improve physical abilities, contribute to the rehabilitation and increase the mobility of children suffering from degenerative neuromuscular diseases.

Garcia Armada leads the group at the Spanish Research Council that developed the world's first bionic exoskeleton for children with spinal muscular atrophy, a degenerative disease without cure. It is estimated that thanks to her, more than 120,000 children in the world might walk again.

She is also the founder of Marsi Bionics, a company whose aim is to research and create paediatric exoskeletons. These structures are adjustable supports modelled to the child's legs and chest , and which incorporate small engines that mimic the functioning of muscles, providing strength to walk and stand up. Her ATLAS2020 model is equipped with smart joints that interpret the movements of the patient, detecting what are desired and unwanted movements.

Elena Garcia Armada is considered one of the 10 brightest scientists in Spain and has received awards for her scientific and innovative activity, such as the Innova Award eVIA 2014, the CEPY Prize - ME 2015 for the Best Entrepreneurial Project or the ABC Health Award to the Best Health Technology in 2016. In 2018, she received the Gold Medal of Madrid.

She is currently a tenured scientist at the Centre for Automatic and Robotics (CAR) CSICUniversidad Politécnica de Madrid, UPM

«Robots are here to improve our life, not to rebel against us»