The Craig Hospital in Denver is the first facility to receive a ready-to-wear, battery-powered exoskeleton designed to allow paraplegics to walk again.
Designed by Ekso Bionics, the exoskeleton system can accommodate most patients who weigh 220 pounds or less and who are between 5’2” and 6’2” in height. It is strapped onto the back of the user over his or her clothing. While it may seem heavy at 45 pounds, the weight is transferred to the ground instead of the patient.
Founded in 2005, Ekso has been the recipient of several U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) grants, and researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have helped collaborate in the exoskeleton’s development.
The company has also collaborated with a variety of rehabilitation centers across the country to perform and investigational study using 63 test subjects.
“Ekso Bionics has fulfilled all of the FDA requirements that empower the company to sell the first commercial version of the Ekso exoskeleton to rehabilitation centers,” said Eythor Bender, Ekso Bionics’ CEO.
According to Bender, the sale of each unit includes “Ekso +,” a comprehensive service, financing and training program.
The use of such systems must be incredibly exciting for patients who thought they would never walk again. We hope that eventually, every rehabilitation center across the country can offer this service.
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