EKSO™, INDEX: AWARD 2013 FINALIST.Nearly 1.3 million people are paralyzed as a result of neurological disease or spinal cord injuries in the US alone, leaving many wheelchair bound for the rest of their lives. California-based company Ekso Bionics, however, makes the impossible possible through a brilliant exoskeleton bionic suit – or wearable robot – enabling paraplegics to get back on their feet and out of their wheelchairs. It is called the Ekso™ and will change paraplegic life forever.
The idea of “wearable robots” may seem like something out of an Alien movie, but this technology is actually already being used in real life. Which is so cool!
Being paraplegic is a condition only those who are can understand the extent of. It extends way beyond the body and affects all aspects of a person’s life at all times. When you are trapped in your own body, you are often forced to rely on others for the tiniest of tasks – some less pleasant to ask as a favor than others. However, the hardest deprivation mentioned by paraplegics is the inability to stand up.
Having to constantly move around in a chair, not being able to communicate at the same eye level as others is one of the mentally and physically hardest restrictions caused by the condition. Enabling people to this is one of the main reasons Ekso™ has received so much praise.
Since 2005, Ekso Bionics™ has been pioneering the field of robotic exoskeletons to augment human strength, endurance and mobility, and they are applying the latest technology and engineering to help people rethink current physical limitations and achieve the remarkable.
The Ekso™ is a bionic exoskeleton developed by Ekso Bionics that gives paraplegics upright mobility. It is a wearable robot – or exoskeleton – that powers people with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness to get them standing up and walking. It is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered, bionic device that is strapped over the user’s clothing.
The combination of motors and sensors, along with patient assist with balance and body positioning, allow the user to walk over ground with an efficient reciprocal gait pattern. An experienced user can transfer to/from their wheelchair and don or doff the Ekso™ in less than 5 minutes. The torso and leg straps are designed for the user to easily get in and out of the device either on their own or with minimal assistance. It is designed for People with lower extremity weakness or paralysis due to neurological disease or injury – Spinal Cord injuries, Multiple Sclerosis, Guillain Barré syndrome.
While the commercial version of the Ekso™ has recently been made available to hospitals and rehabilitation centers, the company hopes to make the technology more accessible so that people can use it at home and in their everyday lives, with a personal version releasing in 2014.
Technology never seizes to amaze us and we have a feeling we are only now seeing the first amazing glimpses of improved life for paraplegics.