New Technology II: Helping Paraplegics and Quadriplegics to Walk

The second company that makes a device to assist walking in spinal cord injured patients is Berkeley Bionics. Their exoskeleton is lighter (45 pounds) and more form-fitting, making it easier to maneuver indoors. It can operate for up to 6 hours between charges. The unit does require operator assistance in the form of a pair of canes for balance.

Prices were not available for the products from both Berkeley and Rex. However, the technology looks promising for several reasons. It allows the subject to stand upright, putting weight on their feet. This helps increase muscle tone and maintain joint flexibility. It also decreases pressure problems caused by remaining seated.

These devices are in an early stage right now. As the technology advances, expect to see smaller bionics with better (smoother) computer control, and more access for people with higher spinal cord injuries.

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in Berkeley Bionics.

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