Paralyzed Man Walks Using Robotic Exoskeleton

Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 13:14

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have succeeded in designing a bionic suit which enabled a completely paralyzed man to take thousands of steps in a training period of five days.

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Mark Pollock, the 39-year-old patient, was a world-class athlete who completely lost motor control from the waist down for four years. But he had been always trying to “keep the paralyzed bits in good enough shape that I`d be ready for any innovation that came down the track,” he said. “Stepping with the stimulation and having my heart rate increase, along with the awareness of my legs under me, was addictive. I wanted more,” he added.

According to Iranian Students` News Agency (ISNA), this noninvasive spinal stimulation technique does not require any surgery. This is the first reported time that a patient with complete paralysis is able to walk using a robotic device. The sensors and motors of this robotic exoskeleton are designed in a way to capture, record and analyze how much voluntary motion the paralyzed patient is capable of providing, and then to compensate for the rest of the movement.

It is reported that Pollock’s leg movement can also have other health benefits, such as improving his cardiovascular function and muscle tone. The results of this research are published by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), the world’s largest international society of biomedical engineers.

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