We’ve written several times about exoskeleton developments. A recent article covered BionikLabs’ Alexa-enabled exoskeleton for specific mobility challenges. Roam, a soft exoskeleton concept saves money and is lighter and more comfortable to wear than conventional designs… if the field of exoskeletal design can be considered old enough to have established conventions.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health NIH Clinical Center Rehabilitation Medicine Department created a robotic exoskeleton that treats crouch gait in children with cerebral palsy. Crouch gait, also called “flex-knee gait” is excessive knee bending while walking. Crouch gait results in progressive degeneration of the mechanics necessary for walking. Half of the adults with cerebral palsy are unable to walk, the loss attributed to crouch gait. The NIH exoskeleton’s robotic controls reduced crouch gait during therapy sessions with results of 8 to 37-degree knee extension improvements, comparable to or better than average gain from invasive surgery.
NIH’s Thomas Bulea says the robotic crouch gait exoskeleton design is the first step toward a device-based rehabilitation treatment program for crouch gait. “This study paves the way for the exoskeleton’s use outside the clinic setting, greatly increasing the amount and intensity of gait training, which we believe is key to successful long-term outcomes in this population,” Bulea said.