ekso bionic suit: wearable robot allows paraplegics to walk
original content
sep 01, 2013
ekso bionic suit: wearable robot allows paraplegics to walk


ekso bionic suit: wearable robot allows paraplegics to walk
all images © courtesy ekso

 

 

being paraplegic is a condition only those who are can understand the extent of. it extends way beyond the body and affects all aspects of a person’s life at all times. when you are trapped in your own body, you are often forced to rely on others for the tiniest of tasks – some less pleasant to ask as a favor than others. however, the hardest deprivation mentioned by paraplegics is the inability to stand up. as a response, ekso bionics, a pioneer in the field of robotic exoskeletons has developed ‘ekso’, a wearable robot – or exoskeleton – that powers people with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness to get them standing up and walking. it is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered, bionic device that is strapped over the user’s clothing. when equipped with the assistive device, walking can be achieved by a forward lateral weight shift to initiate a step. battery-powered motors drive the legs and replace neuro-muscular function.

 

 

 

 

the first generation of ekso is intended for medically supervised use by individuals with complete or incomplete spinal cord injury (SCI) or disease, and other forms of lower extremity paralysis or weakness due to multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, parksinson’s guillain barre or other neurological disease. with medical clearance, the suit can typically facilitate walking for individuals with up to C7 complete, or any level of incomplete spinal cord injury.

 

 

 

 

the current ‘ekso’ device provides functional based rehabilitation, gait training, and upright, weight bearing exercise under the supervision of a medical professional in a clinic or rehabilitation facility. the ‘ekso’ suit is strapped over the user’s clothing so they can get up in a matter of minutes. virtually everyone medically cleared for use of ekso has walked in their first session with a therapist.

 

 

 

 

the combination of motors and sensors, along with patient assist with balance and body positioning, allow the user to walk over ground with an efficient reciprocal gait pattern. an experienced user can transfer to/from their wheelchair and onto the ekso in less than 5 minutes. the torso and leg straps are designed for the user to easily get in and out of the device either on their own or with minimal assistance. it is designed for people with lower extremity weakness or paralysis due to neurological disease or injury – spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, guillain barré syndrome.

 

 

 

 

while the commercial version of the  ekso’ has recently been made available to hospitals and rehabilitation centers, the company hopes to make the technology more accessible so that people can use it at home and in their everyday lives, with a personal version releasing in 2014.

 

 

ekso bionic suit: wearable robot allows paraplegics to walk
video courtesy ekso

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