Byebye wheelchairs

first_imgcourtesy of Ekso BionicsSooner than we think, wheelchairs may begin to be a thing of the past. One company, Ekso Bionics to be exact, is rethinking how people confined to wheelchairs may be able to move again, trading in the wheels for a pair of robotic legs. Through partnerships with UC Berkley, research grants from the Department of Defense and licensed technology to the Lockheed Martin Corporation, Ekso Bionics developed a variety of exoskeletons to augment human mobility. From helping soldiers to carry more weight easily, to helping the paralyzed walk (this particular model is called eLEGS appropriately) these exoskeletons are the next big thing in the world of mobility.What is exciting news to the world of Assistive Technology and those confined to wheelchairs, is that Ekso has developed an exoskeleton walking suit that will actually help the paralyzed move. Powered by small whirring motors, the suit is no mere toy; it is a medical device, and one about to change the world, at that.“We took the idea of the external skele¬ton, and we added nerves in the form of sensors and motors that represent your muscles and computers that represent your brain,” said CEO of Ekso Bionics, Eythor Bender.Upon donning the suit, you have one job: balancing your upper body, you must be able to shift your weight as you plant a walking stick on the ground, let’s say to the right. At this time, the physical therapist will use a remote control signal to signal the left leg to step forward. The suit supports its own 20 kilgram weight through the legs and footrests and takes care of the calculations needed to move forward. A later model will feature walking sticks with motion sensors that communicate with the legs, giving the user complete control.Ten rehab clinics, scattered around the United States, have already signed up for the first round of production units. The first will go to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Kristjan T. Ragnarsson, chairman of the department of rehabilitation medicine at Mount Sinai, said that he is hopeful for Ekso’s latest creation.“I’m optimistic, actually, that this will work,” Ragnarsson said. “I think my patients will be able to stand up and take a few steps and face the next person directly on!”Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedTake the Next Step with a Robotic ExoskeletonMay 10, 2018In “Computers”Science fiction meets real life to help paralyzed individuals walk again!July 9, 2014In “Products and Devices”WHILL: Personal Mobility DeviceAugust 18, 2016In “Mobility”last_img

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