The wearable bionic suit that helps with rehabilitationBy Esko
Walking again after a debilitating injury can be a long and difficult process with weeks, often months, of rehabilitation. Patients with loss of mobility struggle with balance and muscular strength but also with lack of confidence and fear of falling.
Ekso is a wearable bionic suit that enables people with any amount of lower extremity weakness to stand up and walk with a natural, full weight-bearing gait. It is intended for medically supervised use by individuals with various levels of paralysis or hemiparesis due to neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury or disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke and more.
Patients are able to stand up and engage with others at eye level, which is incredibly moving for them and gives them the self-esteem boost to surge on with their rehabilitation faster. The robotic exoskeleton responds to the user’s shifts in weight, activating sensors in the device which prompt the suit to step forward. The battery-powered motors in the suit drive the legs, replacing deficient neuromuscular function, and the rhythm of the forward motion achieved by the wearer helps patients relearn correct step patterns.
The Californian company has been pioneering the field of robotic exoskeletons since 2005, and has helped individuals to take over a million steps that would otherwise have been impossible. The technology has been used by the US army to help rehabilitate injured soldiers, and US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald says it is the best thing he has seen whilst in the post.
To find out more about how you can donate to the foundations that are fundraising to help clinics and health centres get the Ekso wearable technology, visit intl.eksobionics.com/hope.
Image ' Bath in the Light' courtesy of Martin Gommel.
Last updated: 22nd of August, 2015