Walking Again with the Help of an Exoskeleton

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There's so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis and walking is definitely one of them. I was in a snowmobile accident and broke my back. And bruised my spinal cord into then paralysis from about, just above my bellybutton down. The Exo is for people who cannot walk.

Many paraplegics who can then use the Exoskeleton to walk, stand up and walk. One of the biggest engineering challenges for recreating an Exoskeleton is that there is a person in the machine and we have to accommodate that person, we don't have control over them. You have to account for so many things like balance, upper-body movements and to coordinate that movement and then independently coordinate the movement of the robot.

That's a very tricky endeavor. It's so pretty incredible, incredible thing. The device is between 45 and 50 pounds but the thing is that the user doesn't feel it because that it carries its own weight, it can stand under its own weight. Absolutely life changing event. The first time I stood in the exoskeleton it was brilliant and not only was I looking at the world eye level again but I was anticipating the fact that I was actually going to get to take steps and that that's definitely a pretty incredible feeling.

This is the only thing that actually stands you and then allows you to walk. Here we have actuators and motors that drive the hip-joints, and then we have long knee actuator on each side. The ankles are spring loaded, there are springs here on the back, we have two batteries, two battery packs and the main computer here , all the sensors come into the computer and drives the motors.

The first steps were, it was definitely an exciting thing. There was a little bit of nervousness and I'm I doing it right, how's it going to work, how's it going to I feel but, once you take a few steps, don't get me wrong it's not like your real legs working by any means, but your body and your mind remembers.

It's like hey I remember how this works, this is the way it's supposed to go. Most exciting is definitely seeing somebody in the exo walking for the first time since their injury. I love going into rehab centers or something and somebody gets in exo and they stand up, they're nervous, and concerned that they're doing it right, and working with the machine correctly and you look back at mom or dad.

Sitting behind there and that's the best feeling in the world. You know why you went to work by the look on their faces. They are so excited that their son or daughter is standing again, and that they see them as the person that they were before their injury, not that they are a different person, but that they're standing again and strong and tall.

Not only does it have physical rehabilitation potentials, I think the mental aspect is what, to be able to take a paraplegic that hasn't whether it's a year or 20 years and stand him up and get to walk, the positive mental impact on something like that is just incredible, has to be.

Well I'm a paraplegic and I'm walking that kind of pretty much says it all right there. It's pretty dynamite, it's a cool feeling, and every time I'm up and walking it's just as cool as the last time.