Exoskeleton suit gives man chance to walk again

Cutting edge technology has a Darien man taking miraculous steps.

He was paralyzed after he was struck by a car while riding his bike, training for an ironman four years ago.

Mike Loura was beaming as he was walking and showcasing this amazing robotic exoskeleton technology. He was doing something he never imagined he’d be able to do again.

“Ever since the accident all the doctors said you’re never going to walk again,” Loura said.

However, the husband and father of two girls is walking again. Thursday was day 15, the day Loura strapped on the wearable robot, a breakthrough technology, but it’s the first time he’s taking steps for others to see.

“Every time I take a step I kinda have to balance myself in a certain position for the machine to know that it’s ready to take the next step,” said Loura.

“It has an exoskeleton system with battery powered motor that allows someone who can’t feel and can’t move,” said Dr. David Rosenblum, “who’s paralyzed, the ability to go from sit to stand to actually taking steps.”

Dr. Rosenblum is the medical director of Rehabilitation at Gaylord Specialty Healthcare, the only center in Connecticut to offer the Ekso Bionics’ Robotic Exoskeleton technology to patients with spinal chord injuries.

“We’re using it as a tool to work on balance to get someone up and moving,” said Dr. Rosenblum. “From a wellness perspective to improve their quality of life.”

“I wanted to walk,” she says. Graced with tawny hair, high cheekbones, and chocolate-brown eyes, Mena, now 25, is a picture of youthful vitality if you overlook the tracheotomy scar where medics inserted a tube to oxygenate her collapsed lungs after the accident. “I looked into walking with braces, but they sucked the energy right out of me. I met with a doctor about stem-cell treatments, but that was costly and there was no guarantee. I gave up. I had to move on.”

After six years in a wheelchair, Tamara Mena can walk again. Ekso Bionics builds robotic exoskeletons that can help paraplegics walk. All CEO Eythor Bender has to do is create a market for a product that no one knew they wanted.

Read on->


On Monday I was lucky enough to use the Ekso Exoskeleton at the physio I’ve just started going to called Prime Physio. This amazing piece of equipment allowed me to take steps for the first time in almost 8 years! I took 645 steps in total! It was such a special moment. Getting to hug Mike & Mum whilst standing was a lovely feeling. The Ekso isn’t usually used by tetraplegics but at Prime Physio they have been achieving this in a safe way. If only I could have one at home…

The US is getting Hollywood’s help building a real ‘Iron Man’ battle suit

The US hasn’t had much success building mechanized battle suits that move quickly and stop bullets, but Hollywood has been dreaming up these concepts for years. Don’t they already know a thing or two about designing high-tech armor? Apparently, the US military thinks so – it’s enlisting the help of Legacy Effects, which has built suits for Iron Man and RoboCop, to shape its TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) project. The company is both designing and 3D printing prototype pieces that will give a feel for what the armor is like in the real world.

Of course, the result won’t be anywhere near as slick as what Alex Murphy or Tony Stark wears in the movies. Legacy Effects is bound by the limitations of modern technology, which will likely make this early suit very clunky; think of the makeshift suit near the start of the original Iron ManEkso Bionics is hoping to develop a powered exoskeleton, but it could be both heavy (around 400 pounds) and power-hungry. It may end up using a drone engine for power rather than an array of batteries. A Canadian firm, Mawashi Protective Clothing, is developing an unpowered substitute inspired by the natural protection of armadillos and insects.

The US doesn’t expect a fully functioning, independent suit until July 2018, and that’s assuming there are no big setbacks. However, it believes that the time and expense (estimated at $80 million) will be worth the effort. Soldiers only have so much protection with current armor, and they frequently shoulder heavy loads that slow them down. TALOS may never have sci-fi features like flight or repulsor weapons, but it could both save lives and help troops get around war zones with more agility than a vehicle allows.


(via Berkeley Bionics accepting orders for prototype exoskeleton - IEEE Spectrum)

ExoHiker from Berkeley Bionics, the firm that has become Ekso Bionics with the rehab exoskeleton I just blogged.

This looks amazing. I’d love to get one for Katya. Probably costs a whole lot, though.

Powered Exoskeletons Could Replace Wheelchairs One Day

Powered Exoskeletons Could Replace Wheelchairs One Day

External image

POSTED BY ADOLA When you hear the word exoskeleton, you probably think of an insect’s hard carapace or Iron Man’s suit a sort of body sheath that lends its wearer superhuman powers. But for years, Ekso Bionics has crafted their own exoskeletons, wrap-around metal braces with motors and a CPU backpack that allow paraplegics to walk again. (Their other suits, designed for construction, help skinny…

View On WordPress


Ekso Bionics

Ekso is a wearable robot or exoskeleton that powers people with lower extremity paralysis or weakness to get them standing up and walking. It is a battery powered, bionic device that is strapped over the user’s clothing. The combination of motors and sensors, along with patient assist with balance and body position, allow the user to walk over ground with reciprocal gait. 


New Post has been published on HASSELWANDER-PR

New Post has been published on http://www.hasselwander.co.uk/smartassist-software-eroeffnet-neue-chancen-bei-der-gangrehabilitation-ekso-bionics-auf-der-rehacare-2015/

SmartAssist-Software eröffnet neue Chancen bei der Gangrehabilitation: Ekso Bionics auf der REHACARE 2015

Von Frühmobilisierung bis zu ergänzender Funktioneller Elektrostimulation

External image
Gehroboter Ekso GT von Ekso Bionics

Düsseldorf / London, 22. September 2015 – Vom 14.-17. Oktober 2015 stellt Ekso Bionics seinen Gehroboter Ekso GT auf der REHACARE, der internationalen Fachmesse für Rehabilitation, Pflege, Prävention und Integration in Düsseldorf, vor (Halle 5, H32). Im Mittelpunkt der Präsentation steht dabei Eksos neue SmartAssist-Software, die Patienten eine individuelle, an ihrer Erkrankung, Leistungsfähigkeit und Rehabilitationsphase angepasste Gangtherapie bietet und den Einsatzbereich des Ekso nochmals vergrößert. Darüber hinaus eröffnet Ekso erstmals auch die Möglichkeit, Exoskelett-Therapie mit Funktioneller Elektrostimulation (FES) zu kombinieren.

Der Gehroboter Ekso GT mit SmartAssist-Funktion ermöglicht eine umfassende Gangtherapie und bietet sowohl Patienten als auch Therapeuten ein beispielloses Rehabilitationserlebnis. So profitieren Ekso-Patienten, die noch ganz am Anfang ihres Rehabilitationsprozesses stehen, von dem neuen Gehprogramm PreGait, das sie bei der Frühmobilisierung unterstützt und auf diese Weise Schritt für Schritt auf das spätere Gangtraining vorbereitet. FreeGait hingegen richtet sich an fortgeschrittene Patienten und kann ihnen helfen, selbstständiger mit dem Ekso zu trainieren. Die neue QuickFit-Funktion macht den Gehroboter zudem noch therapeutenfreundlicher, da die Patienteneinstellungen über alle Therapiesitzungen hinweg gespeichert werden und der Ekso so in fünf Minuten an die Maße des jeweiligen Patienten angepasst werden kann.

Eine weitere Innovation des Ekso ist die Kombination von Exoskelett-Therapie und Funktioneller Elektrostimulation (FES). Eine Kooperation mit HASOMED, einem führenden Unternehmen im Bereich der neurologischen Rehabilitation, macht dies erstmals möglich. Ekso Bionics bietet so die Gelegenheit, potenzielle Vorteile einer Kombination dieser beiden ergänzenden Therapiekonzepte systematisch zu untersuchen.

Praxisnahe Einblicke in die Therapie mit dem Ekso gewährt der querschnittsgelähmte Sebastian Erhardt am Ekso Bionics Stand (H32, Halle 5) wo er live vor Ort mit dem Gehroboter trainiert. Im Rahmen des Fachforums „Marktplatz Gehirn“ wird Ekso Bionics am 17. Oktober, 15.00 Uhr zudem einen Überblick über den wirksamen Einsatz des Ekso in der Neurorehabilitation geben (Halle 3, Stand 3F39).

Über Ekso Bionics
Ekso Bionics ist ein Pionier im Bereich der Exoskelette, die es Menschen mit Lähmung der unteren Extremitäten ermöglichen, aufrecht zu stehen und zu gehen und die aktuellen Grenzen ihrer Mobilität zu überwinden. Durch den Einsatz innovativer Technologien entwickelt Ekso Bionics Lösungen, deren Ziel es ist, die menschliche Mobilität und Ausdauer zu erweitern. Der „anziehbare“ Gehroboter Ekso wird in führenden Kliniken und Rehabilitationseinrichtungen weltweit eingesetzt. In Deutschland bieten derzeit 9 Zentren Therapien mit Ekso an.

Der Hauptsitz von Ekso Bionics ist in Richmond, USA. Darüber hinaus verfügt das Unternehmen über eine Niederlassung in Großbritannien. Weitere Informationen unter www.eksobionics.com

Ekso Bionics
Marcus Nielsen
29th Floor, 1 Canada Square
E14 5DY London
+49 89 55 06 77 74

Weissenbach PR
Dorothea Keck
Nymphenburger Str. 86
80636 München
089 5506 7773

Ekso Bionics, originally Berkeley Bionics, was founded in Berkeley, California in 2005. The company is a pioneer in the field of robotic exoskeletons to improve human mobility. Since its inception, Ekso Bionics has forged partnerships with world-class institutions like UC Berkeley, received research grants from the Department of Defense and licensed technology to the Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Wearable Robot Suit - TechKnow

Ekso is a battery-powered external skeleton that makes it possible for paralyzed people to walk.

More than 20 years ago, Amanda Boxtel was paralyzed during a skiing accident. She is the first person in the U.S. to own the Ekso Bionics exoskeleton suit — called E-Legs.

#AmandaBoxtel, #EksoBionics, #US

Ekso's Exoskeletons Let Paraplegics Walk, Will Anyone Actually Wear One? By Ted Geenwald

External image
After six years in a wheelchair, Tamara Mena can walk again. PHOTO BY GABRIELA HASBUN

Tamara Mena was 19 years old when she dismissed all hope of ever walking again. Mena was living in San Diego and working toward a degree in hotel management when she and her boyfriend Patrick decided to hit the clubs in Rosarito Beach, just across the Mexican border. Since they didn’t want to risk drinking and driving, they took a cab. They never made it to Mexico.

About 2 miles from their destination, their vehicle slammed into a horse. The impact launched the animal into the air; it landed on top of the cab, crushed the roof to seat level, and killed Patrick and the driver instantly. Mena was paralyzed from the midchest down.

“I wanted to walk,” she says. Graced with tawny hair, high cheekbones, and chocolate-brown eyes, Mena, now 25, is a picture of youthful vitality if you overlook the tracheotomy scar where medics inserted a tube to oxygenate her collapsed lungs after the accident. “I looked into walking with braces, but they sucked the energy right out of me. I met with a doctor about stem-cell treatments, but that was costly and there was no guarantee. I gave up. I had to move on.”


Six years after that fateful night, in a nondescript warehouse in Berkeley, California, she is moving on–using her own two legs. She stands on the linoleum floor, supporting herself with a pair of crutches, an expression of quiet determination on her face. The lower two-thirds of her body are enclosed in an aluminum frame attached by Velcro straps to her ankles, calves, thighs, hips, and chest. A physical therapist stands behind her, one hand grasping a handle on the contraption’s rear panel, the other holding a control panel. Each time the therapist presses a button, small electrical motors at the frame’s joints move in a motion that replicates the action of corresponding muscles–one of Mena’s hips swings ahead, the associated knee rises, the foot lifts and then falls to the floor, and she takes a precious step forward.

Mena is a test pilot for Ekso Bionics, a front-runner in robotic exoskeleton technology, which can replace or augment human capabilities. Led by Icelandic CEO Eythor Bender, the company has licensed its technology to Lockheed Martin for military use and sold its initial medical product, the Ekso, to rehabilitation centers throughout the U.S. Bender says the medical market is just the beginning. He envisions robotic frames for industrial workers, like miners, dockers, and construction workers. He imagines that each of us will want an exoskeleton: “the REI Ekso,” recreational outerwear that confers superhuman strength and endurance.

“We’re starting with soldiers and paralyzed people because their needs are great and the opportunity for funding is better,” Bender says. “But you can imagine exoskeletons for workers using tools too heavy to hold for more than a few minutes. And a consumer version for people who want to run a marathon or climb Mount Kilimanjaro.” Exoskeletons, he dreams, will be “the jeans of the future”–practical, fashionable, and streamlined enough to wear in economy class.

First, though, he must get past obstacles that have derailed many a medical-device company. He must convince rehabilitation therapists and wheelchair users that the Ekso is more than a pricey gewgaw. He will need to outdistance competitors, some of whom already have products on the market. Finally, he must persuade the FDA and the insurance industry that paralyzed people need to walk, a proposition that’s controversial even among paraplegics.

External image
NORDIC SPIRIT: CEO Bender thinks exoskeletons could affect industries as diverse as construction and health care.PHOTO BY GABRIELA HASBUN

For Mena, the Ekso’s impact has already exceeded expectations. “I just wanted to walk again,” she says. “But once you get up, you realize how meaningful it is to look at people eye to eye and hug someone while you’re standing up. I had forgotten what that felt like. Once you remember, it’s hard to go back to a wheelchair.”

Ekso Bionics’ staff has ballooned from 23 to 68 in the past year, and its Berkeley facility is fit to burst. Past the cramped reception area (which doubles as a customer-service bullpen), it’s Santa’s robotics workshop. The 12,000-square-foot floor is a labyrinth of workbenches, storage bins, and whiteboards covered with electrical diagrams. A yellow gantry–basically a 35-foot girder on trestles–cuts across the floor to protect test pilots like Mena against falling.

A fully assembled Ekso hangs on a rack next to one of the benches, its legs pumping repetitively in test mode. Even without an upper body, it looks shockingly human. Its architecture matches the familiar anatomy of legs and hips; its black aluminum frame (adjustable to wearers of different heights) mimics the bones, its gently whirring electrical motors, the muscles. Its gait falls between a leisurely stroll and a military step as it marches toward the marketplace.

The dream of a wearable robot capable of overcoming the frailties of human anatomy dates back at least to March 1963, when Marvel Comics published its first issue devoted to Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark, a millionaire industrialist who donned a mechanized suit to become the Invincible Iron Man. The U.S. military was thinking along the same line, and six months later, Army engineer Serge J. Zaroodny published a paper entitled “Bumpusher: A Powered Aid to Locomotion.”

Zaroodny’s design kicked off nearly four decades of dubiously productive military investment in the concept. The human body burns calories in proportion to the work it does, but early exoskeletons consumed immense amounts of energy simply standing still. The only solutions were to tether the robot to a wall socket or strap a powerful gasoline engine to its back. Neither option was fit for the battlefield. A key breakthrough came in 2004. At the University of California, Berkeley, Homayoon Kazerooni, Nathan Harding, and Russ Angold realized that the standard techniques for driving hydraulics were simply too inefficient. A mobile robot required a fresh approach. Their DARPA-funded design shunted weight through its joints into the ground, so it didn’t consume energy at rest, and it used regeneration to take advantage of gravity and recapture expended energy. This allowed the team to cut the electrical cord in favor of battery power. The result was the first practical untethered exoskeleton.

Angold had only military needs in mind until he received a terrible phone call: His brother had broken his back. “I flew to Virginia Beach, where he was in the hospital, and said, ‘We’re going to make exoskeletons to help people walk again,’” he recalls. His brother eventually made a full recovery, and Angold returned to martial applications. But at conferences, the team kept running into doctors interested in a therapeutic exoskeleton.

Recognizing opportunities in two disparate markets, in 2005, Kazerooni, Harding, and Angold formed Ekso Bionics (then called Berkeley Bionics). CEO Bruce Borup came aboard three years later, fresh from a stint with CFC, Inc. magazine’s fastest-growing U.S. defense contractor of 2007. He promptly cut a licensing deal with Lockheed Martin, which would refine, manufacture, and market the olive-drab Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC, giving Berkeley Bionics a royalty on sales.

Borup’s knowledge of the defense market was indispensable to securing the deal, but he departed soon afterward. To attack the medical market, the company needed a different kind of CEO. It needed Eythor Bender.