London: A new robotic suit has been developed to help paraplegic walk again by sensing movement that is later translated by the computer brain.
Esko, which resembles an exoskeleton, helps the wearer walk of their own accord by picking up small upper body movements and translating them into strides.
Amanda Boxtel, who was paralysed from the waist down in a 1992 skiing accident, has described the bionic legs as “life changing”.
“The first time I walked in them I went back to my hotel room and cried hard,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
According to Eythor Bender, chief executive officer of Ekso Bionics, the project was originally funded by the American military interested in giving soldiers superhuman strength and ability on the battlefield.
Almost five years ago the developers realised the legs had “huge potential, especially for people with spinal injuries”.
They began working with rehabilitation clinics to tailor them for paraplegics, believing they could create a device that predicted a person’s walking intentions based on movements in the lower back.
Describing how the robot suit works, Bender said that it has sensors to sense movement that are then translated by a computer “brain” that “helps read your movements and drive forward motors that are sitting under your knees and your hips”.
“It has sensors, that pretty much mimic your nerves, that sense your movements,” Bender said.