New Exoskeletons Assist Paralysis Victims to Stand and Walk

One of the many devastating consequences of suffering spinal cord injuries and becoming paralyzed in a serious accident is the loss of the ability to walk—something we take for granted. However, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new robotic device in 2014 that could help people who are paralyzed to walk again.

This new device is called ReWalk and can enable a person to sit, stand, and walk with the aid of a trained companion. It works as follows:

  • It is a motorized, fitted brace which supports the person’s legs and upper parts of his body.

  • The motors enable the person to move his hips, knees, and ankles.

  • The device also utilizes a tilt sensor and a backpack with a computer and power supply.

The ReWalk requires in-hospital training, but is designed to be used in a person’s everyday life.

Other Robotic Devices Being Developed

While ReWalk is the only FDA-approved robotic device available now, others are being developed and tested that could also assist those suffering with paralysis to walk again. These include the following:

Ekso Robotic Exoskeleton.

This device is designed to help people learn to stand and walk in a clinical setting. Some testing indicates that it can help with walking speed and distance, gait, and balance.

Parker Indigo.

This is a powered lower limb device that enables the person to walk. It is still in the very early stages of testing.

Hybrid Assistive Limb.

The manufacturer describes this as a cyborg-type robot that enables a person with paralysis to move. It is going through the medical device approval process.

Being able to walk again could be a huge milestone in independence for people who were paralyzed as a result of a car, slip and fall, or workplace accident. While these devices are expensive, they could be vital to your rehabilitation. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for this device and more from the business or person who caused your paralysis.

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