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Ekso in action  (Source:
The Kessler Foundation tested the Ekso exoskeleton on six individuals restricted to a wheelchair

Standing and walking may soon become part of daily life again for those restricted to wheelchairs thanks to the Kessler Foundation and Ekso Bionics' robotic exoskeleton "Ekso."

The Kessler Foundation, one of the largest public charities supporting those with disabilities, along with exoskeleton creator Ekso Bionics, announced in mid October that they had chosen six participants for the testing of their exoskeleton "Ekso," which is a battery-powered, robotic exoskeleton that can be worn by a disabled individual like a suit. It then allows the person to stand up or walk again.

While Ekso Bionics supplies the exoskeleton, Kessler Foundation and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation research the science behind the disability and work on the body through retraining of the nervous system via locomotor training, epidural stimulation and more.

“By studying various forms of treatment for paralysis, we identify what course of action works best for each individual,” said Dr. Gail Forrest, Ph.D., Interim Director of Human Performance and Movement Analysis Research at Kessler Foundation. “Robotic technology adds another dimension to rehabilitation by simulating a normal walking pattern. We’ve seen that repetitive motion retrains the nervous system so that individuals, in some cases, redevelop walking patterns, but regular movement also prevents secondary complications of paralysis, including cardiac and lung weakness, poor bone density and pressure ulcers. Quality of life drastically improves.”

After participating in one week of preliminary testing back in October, the six participants were able to show researchers what is needed in order to conduct a successful clinical trial, which is expected to begin in January 2012. For instance, researchers will have a better idea of how to select participants with spinal cord injuries for the trial.

Five of the patients have paraplegia, and the sixth has quadriplegia. They ranged in duration of injury from four months to two years, and were ages 27 to 45.

Below is a video that shares the six participants' experiences during the one-week preliminary testing:

Ekso is only used in a rehabilitation environment for now, but researchers plan to extend the exoskeleton to home and community use in 2013.

Exoskeleton's are not only being used for rehabilitative purposes, but also in military settings. Just last year, Lockheed Martin introduced the Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC), which is a full suit that can be worn by soldiers in order to evade attacks, effortlessly lift objects up to 200 lbs, and weather the elements with ease.

Sources: Kessler Foundation, Eurekalert

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Frosted Mini Wheats
By The Raven on 12/16/2011 10:33:01 AM , Rating: -1
Exoskeleton's are not only being used for rehabilitative purposes, but also in military settings...

The little scientist inside of me is overjoyed...

But the cynic in me is sad that this will mostly justify sending our troops somewhere because now they are really safe and/or even more massive gov't military spending.

Why does the gov't always have to ruin good news like this.

Well at least we will be able to help those troops who have already become paraplegics due to their service in the current wars.

RE: Frosted Mini Wheats
By Breathless on 12/16/2011 12:24:37 PM , Rating: 2
Wars will always happen no matter who is in power. Get used to the idea that freedom will always have its cost (blood and life), whether we attack someone first for a justified or unjustified reason, or whether they do the same to us. You are the only one that is "ruining this good news".

RE: Frosted Mini Wheats
By The Raven on 12/16/2011 3:26:58 PM , Rating: 3
That makes no sense whatsoever. We have to be at war to be free? I think you must be thinking of...
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure. -Thomas Jefferson- (emphasis added)

Yes war is needed, nay, unavoidable from time to time. Do we need to go sniffing around for it? No.

If you seriously can read this and not think of those fighting right now then you need to pick up a news paper and get with the times. We are a country at war whether you want to bury your head in this good news or not.

RE: Frosted Mini Wheats
By Breathless on 12/16/2011 3:42:18 PM , Rating: 2
What are you talking about dude, you just made my point.

You say:

"That makes no sense whatsoever. We have to be at war to be free?"

Then you say:

"Yes war is needed, nay, unavoidable from time to time"

Boom, my point - made. I never said nor implied we need to go sniffing around for it, I just said it was going to happen and was unavoidable. You are turning an inspirational article about paraplegics into "sighh.... but, but, our war mongering overlords will..."

RE: Frosted Mini Wheats
By The Raven on 12/16/2011 7:10:14 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry, when I posted I forgot that the emphasis would blend in. I should have put it on my words instead of Tommy's.

The emphasis was on "FROM TIME TO TIME". These damn politicians taking us into Libya, Iraq or wherever is what pisses me off. We have been actively at war with Afghanistan (or at least some crazies there) for over ten years. Before that it was...

Does this sound like "from time to time" to you? When these words were uttered it was as justification from breaking free from some "tyrants". Not for chasing some deranged fanatics around the globe.

So what I meant is that we must go to war 'from time to time,' but it makes no sense that we have to BE at war to be free.

And to be clear, if this article wouldn't have mentioned the military application I wouldn't have thought much about it or at least enough to comment on the fact.

But you are right, I actually am the one who is ruining this story... because I (though not alone) am responsible for my gov't's actions.

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