Paralysis is a devastating diagnosis, one that nobody wants to hear. But it’s dramatically more widespread than you may assume. About 1.7 percent of the U.S. population are living with some form of paralysis, which is a central nervous system disorder that results in difficulty or inability to move the lower or upper extremities. The leading cause of paralysis is stroke, followed closely by spinal cord injury.
There is hope on the horizon. In fact, it’s already here. Human exoskeletons are mobile frameworks with a bright future, as they are giving back a sense of movement and control for people who are paralyzed.
Take disruptive clinical robotics, for example, like those developed by our teams here at Ekso Bionics. Our wearable technology has helped thousands of patients take more than 130 million steps that may have never been possible before. We’re rethinking rehabilitation with the rise of the human exoskeleton, with a mission to help people with paralysis regain full or partial mobility.
While some exoskeletons have long been used as an assistive device for those with paralysis, providing 100 percent of the power needed to walk, breakthroughs such as EksoNR now offer the ability to actively challenge the patient piloting the device. Physical therapists can rely on EksoNR to meet the patient at their current capabilities and challenge them further in order to create progress.