Mixo-suit knee component with yellow artificial muscles

Pratt MID Thesis – Mixo-Suit

The M.I.D program at Pratt prepares students to become industry leaders. The thesis project is the culmination of this 3-year program. Thesis provides the greatest possible freedom and opportunity for the pursuit of a selected topic of the students choice. Candidates are expected to demonstrate the full range of design skills and methodology in their thesis projects.

This project, Mixo-suit by Zilan Chen, explores the development of a software/hardware product designed for the rehabilitation of children with cerebral palsy, living in underserved communities.

What we did

  • Literature review
  • Design research
  • Problem definition
  • Project proposal
  • Concept development
  • Rapid prototyping
  • User Testing
  • Working prototype
  • Thesis book

Clients / Collaborators

Mixo-suit ankle component with green artificial muscles
Man manipulates a figure wearing the Mixo-suit

Thesis Proposal

The Mixo-suit home rehabilitation system is a lower-body exoskeleton rehabilitation system for children with cerebral palsy, and is designed to be used by both their parents, and therapists. The system is designed to provide parents a hardware rehabilitation device combined with a and interactive phone app. Used together, the system allows parents to follow the app’s instructions to help their children do their physical therapy exercises. This system is specifically designed to fill a glaring need that many children with cerebral palsy, their parents, and therapists are facing on a daily basis - no or very limited access to trained physical therapists and rehabilitation specialists. By using this system, more children will get the therapy they need.

Mixo-suit ankle component design process
Mixo-suit prototype knee brace details

Design Process

Since this design project aims to rehabilitate the lower limbs of children with cerebral palsy, the process of model making includes two parts: the knee joint and the ankle joint. In the knee component, two acceleration sensors were used to track movements for multiple rehabilitation poses. Various formats of the design were tested on the target audience and the feedback from users and experts was used to modify the models and design the final solution. The hardware components work in tandem with an app that show movement in real time and guides parents or caregivers in executing the therapy exercises.

Mixo-suit design illustrations shown on a leg
Mixo-suit knee and ankle component prototypes
Mixo-suit knee component product anatomy
ankle brace design mockups in muslin


The Mixo-suit is the first product to systematically help patients with cerebral palsy carry out rehabilitation training, filling the vacancy in the rehabilitation industry market. It is a user-centric, design-driven system that uses inexpensive materials to reduce the financial burden of family with a child with this debilitating physical disease.