Robotic Suit Helps Paralytic Athlete to Move

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Robotic Blessing

In what could turn out to be a blessing for paralytic persons, scientists from United States have created a robotic exoskeleton that has enabled a 39-year-old former athlete suffering from paralysis to move and control his legs by allowing him to take thousands of steps. In addition to this, the athlete also received a non-invasive spinal stimulation without surgery.

Mark Pollock, a blind athlete who holds the record of being the first blind man to race to the South Pole suffered a spinal cord injury in 2010 leading to paralysis. This is a great achievement as scientists for the first time were able to make a paralytic person gain control of his feet and move his legs with the help of a robotic device. Moreover, the leg movements improved cardiovascular functions and muscle tone in the athlete.

The development follows a non-invasive procedure in which researchers helped five paralytic persons to move their legs in rhythmic motion. The device is a wearable bionic suit that operates on battery.  Although Pollock was able to take thousands of steps, researchers do not consider this as walking since a completely paralysed person has never walked without the support of a robotic device.  

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