Rewalk Exoskeleton: A Feasibility Study

Where do bionic suits fit in rehabilitating and living with spinal cord injury?

In partnership with the National Spinal Injuries Centre, we have completed a study evaluating the role of exoskeletons for people with chronic spinal cord injury.  Exoskeletons offer users the ability to stand from a seated position, to sit down, walk, and to ascend and descend stairs. An exoskeleton is a wearable brace support suit featuring motors at the hip and knee joints, rechargeable batteries, a computer-based control system and a remote control for selecting the walking mode. It is anticipated that improved mobility will offer additional advantages as users become more active, having a potentially positive effect on cardiovascular fitness, bone quality and sense of independence, whilst preventing the occurrence of pressure ulcers.

Led by senior physiotherapist Ian Benson, this study has now been completed at the National Spinal Injuries Centre in Aylesbury and will give researchers important information which is necessary for the preparation of a bigger, multicenter study.  Ultimately, once the objective benefits of using exoskeletons have been demonstrated in research, the NHS will consider use of these modern devices to enhance standards of care in the future.

 

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