Good-bye, wheelchair, hello exoskeleton

January 5, 2012 | Source: IEEE Spectrum
Ekso exoskeleton

Ekso is a bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk (credit: Ekso Bionics)

Early this year Ekso Bionics (formerly known as Berkeley Bionics) will begin selling its Ekso exoskeleton walking suit to rehab clinics in the United States and Europe.

It will allow patients with spinal cord injuries to train with the device under a doctor’s supervision. By the middle of 2012, the company plans to have a model for at-home physical therapy.

Your job is to balance your upper body, shifting your weight as you plant a walking stick on the right; your physical therapist will then use a remote control to signal the left leg to step forward. In a later model, the walking sticks will have motion sensors that communicate with the legs, allowing the user to take complete control.

video | “Ekso exoskeleton allowing traumatic spinal cord injury patients to walk