ReWalk- a new wearable robot that’s been approved by the FDA, surely knows how to live up to its name! This new device may now help paraplegics to walk by using high-tech braces.
The device makes use of computerized sensors to support the paraplegic user, and mimic the natural feeling of walking. The device currently costs around $69, 500, and is what you could call a new exoskeleton!
And that’s not just it- there’s another device by the name of Ekso, which allows people to walk using robotic technology. While there is a lot to be worked on these devices considering their obvious shortcomings of not being able to last long on batteries and them taking an hour to walk a mile, they do appear to be promising enough to grab the attention of many.
The users of these exoskeleton are expected to experience man benefits including better blood circulation, better respiration and relief from pain. There are also many psychological benefits that this exoskeleton has to offer- the ability to stand with confidence, look into people’s eyes while talking etc.
The exoskeleton basically works on electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, which allows paraplegic patients to move again. The epidural stimulator also mimics signals passed dwon from the body, which also restores motor ability to the patients.
“Because of epidural stimulation, they can now voluntarily move their hips, ankles and toes. This is groundbreaking for the entire field and offers a new outlook that the spinal cord, even after a severe injury, has great potential for functional recovery,” Claudia Angeli, from the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center (KSCIRC) at the University of Louisville, explained.
This new exoskeleton may actually make wheelchairs the thing of the past, and will allow patients to completely use it to walk around.
“It will be incredible for me to regain independence, to use the system to walk and stand on my own,” Derek Herrera, a paraplegic and captain in the Marine Corps, stated in a press release. The soldier will be one of the first people in the nation to own the ReWalk system.