Paralysed Man Walks with Robotic Exoskeleton

After four years of being unable to walk, Mark Pollock, a former athlete, took his first steps using robotic exoskeletons developed by scientists at UCLA. The device is the first ever technology that has been paired with spinal stimulation to help disabled individuals walk again using their own muscles.

The system is made of two independent components meant to work together, including the battery-powered robotic exoskeleton and another piece that administers non-invasive spinal stimulation.

In just two weeks, Pollock made thousands of steps and slowly regain full control of his own muscles. After the last few weeks of his trial, he said that it is a very special moment for him to be able to walk again.

This was a very exciting, emotional moment for me, having spent my whole adult life before breaking my back as an athlete, he said in a statement.

Pollack was an athlete before. In 2010, he fell from second-story window. Because of that incident, he broke his spine that left him paralyzed from waist down.

Pollock is not the only one who is prepared for using this device. Five more completely paralyzed persons are also receiving 45-minute training session for 18 weeks and regaining voluntarily control over their legs.

We think the future in robotics and rehabilitation is that the device will assist but will not completely take over, so the person has to regain some voluntary movement and to assist the device in making voluntary movements, said Edgerton,senior author of the research and a UCLA distinguished professor. "The robot will do less and less and the subject will do more and more."

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