Finding your feet with the exoskeleton
Posted by: The Personal Truths Team
When a personal injury takes mobility, it can be hard to have a positive outlook. But technology companies and spinal charities are investing constant research to develop products which encourage movement after paralysis.
The exoskeleton is an evolving robotic device, made with a goal to replicate natural movement as closely as possible and help paralysed people learn to walk again. Exosuits feature innovative technology to enhance movement and stability; their sensors detect slight changes in the centre of gravity and step forward when the wearer leans forward.
In 2013, Amanda Boxtel established Bridging Bionics, recognising the exoskeleton was not easily affordable or accessible. When a skiing accident paralysed her aged 24, she was amazed by robotic rehabilitation technology. Working in tandem with the suit, she felt stronger than ever and her chronic pain reduced significantly. Her charity aims to provide high-tech bionic rehabilitation to those with mobility impairments in America.
Today, exoskeletons are an international phenomenon. Earlier this year, Simon Kindleysides completed the London Marathon through the night and following day, with help from a ReWalk exosuit. After his brain tumour diagnosis, he said
“I could stay in bed and feel sorry for myself, but why waste the life I’ve been given, I’m going to live mine to the fullest.”
The robotic legs have now been gifted to him, along with a letter from the Queen. Claire Lomas MBE also finished the London Marathon with ReWalk’s aid. Claire suffered paralysis from the waist down after a horse-riding accident in 2007, and doctors believed she would never walk again. But in 2012 with the help of an exoskeleton, she crossed the London Marathon finish line.
This was one of Claire’s many fundraising challenges. For her current challenge, she is collaborating with The Bike Experience charity which encourages motorcyclists back on their bikes after injury and illness. She has raised £664,724 for Spinal Research to date.
More and more injured people regain movement each year, with the introduction of revolutionary new technology like electrical spinal patches and improvements being made to existing products like the exoskeleton. To find out more about ReWalk Robotics and the innovative services they offer, click here.