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Kent Stephenson bends his leg, thanks to an implanted epidural stimulator

In 2011, 25 year-old paraplegic Rob Summers was able to temporarily regain limited use of his legs, thanks to an experimental technique known as epidural electrical stimulation of the spinal cord. Now, in a new study, Summers and three other paraplegic test subjects have shown even more promising results, thanks to the technology.  Read More

Upsee helps children who have motor impairments

"Necessity is the mother of invention" – it's an adage that fits in perfectly with the story of Israeli mom Debby Elnatan. She was faced with the challenge of walking with her son Rotem, who has cerebral palsy and cannot use his legs by himself. Helping her two-year-old move around unaided proved to be a very difficult task, prompting Debby to search for a solution. Now, the system she created for him has become a commercial product that could improve the lives of children suffering from motor impairments around the world.  Read More

The Vector Gait and Safety System uses a track-mounted robotic trolley to keep patients fr...

When a patient is undergoing rehab for a condition that compromises their gait or sense of balance, the process certainly isn't helped by the constant worry that they might fall. In fact, even the caregivers themselves can be injured when trying to move patients around. That's why California-based rehabilitative tech firm Bioness developed its Vector Gait and Safety System. It involves suspending the patient below a robotic trolley, that moves with them to hold them up.  Read More

A diagram of the experimental orthotic device

We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Read More

The C-Walker in use (Photo: DALi)

The C-Walker is a high-tech walking device that aims to safely guide people with cognitive impairments through public spaces like airports and shopping centers, reducing their reliance on visual signboards and avoiding obstacles in their way. Using onboard sensors, this "cognitive navigation prosthesis" monitors its environment in real time to figure out a path that poses little risk, actively re-planning it when it encounters problems like wet floors, or people dashing about. Aside from aiding senior citizens, the technology is expected to come in handy in factory settings, helping workers avoid danger zones and accidental collisions with machines.  Read More

'ReWalker' Gene Laureano crosses the finish line at the Generosity NYC 5K

Released two years ago, the ReWalk powered exoskeleton allows wheelchair users to walk upright again – albeit with the additional help of a pair of crutches. This past Sunday (Nov. 17), a group of ReWalk users from around the world got together in New York City, where they used their exoskeletons to take part in a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) charity walk.  Read More

AMBER 2 is a robotic simulation of bipedal locomotion that closely mirrors a human gait

Bipedal robots have proved a challenging frontier for roboticists, with styles ranging from clunkers to lurchers to those seemingly falling over drunk. However, the AMBER lab at Texas A&M University has created universal mathematical functions of walking derived from human data and optimized for robotic systems. Their own proof of concept robots have strikingly human gaits and react appropriately to disturbances. Furthermore, the system has the potential to be applied to other bipedal robots to similarly upgrade their stride.  Read More

Prof. Mo Rastgaar (left) and PhD student Evandro Ficanha, with the leg and its testing rig...

Although computer-controlled artificial legs have been around for a few years now, they generally still feature an ankle joint that only allows the foot to tilt along a toe-up/toe-down axis. That's fine for walking in a straight line, but what happens when users want to turn a corner, or walk over uneven terrain? Well, in some cases, they end up falling down. That's why researchers at Michigan Technological University are now developing a microprocessor-controlled leg with an ankle that also lets the foot roll from side to side.  Read More

Virtualizer inventor Tuncay Cakmak tries out the system

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go sliding across the floor in your stocking feet? Well, researchers at Austria's Vienna University of Technology have developed a virtual reality gaming system that brings those sock-sliding days to mind. It allows players to walk on the spot in the real world, causing their character to walk across the ground in the game.  Read More

The first prototype

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a remarkable drone aircraft that can also walk on land using only its wings for locomotion. Named DALER, a backronym standing for Deployable Air Land Exploration Robot, the robot is named after creator Ludovic Daler of the EPFL's Laboratory of Intelligent Systems.  Read More

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