A wearable robot helps disabled people walk

Wed 27 Jun 2012


Ekso is a wearable, battery-powered, exoskeleten made by Ekso Bionics that enables paraplegics to take a few steps again. It weighs approximately 23 kg and with the help of sensors in its foot units, weight shifts are converted into steps. People who function well with their wheelchair are expected to be faster in them than with the exoskeleton. The psychological benefits of a patient standing upright are also very good. 

In the view of Ruediger Rupp, director of the Department of Experimental Neurorehabilitation in the Paraplegiology Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital, the robot is no substitute for a wheelchair, especially considering that it is not suitable for all patients. There are about 60,000 paraplegics in Germany, “of whom fewer than 10 per cent are candidates (for the robot),” he said. “That’s a very select group.” Someone who can hardly move his or her torso, for example, would have great difficulties with the robot.

Paraplegics

Paraplegia is the paralysis of the legs and lower body and people having this condition are called Paraplegics

 

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