Ekso Bionics(Berkeley, CA) has recently delivered the ready-to-wear, battery-powered Ekso exoskeleton to its first customer, theCraig Hospital in Denver, an institution dedicated to spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. The Ekso system is strapped on to the user over clothing, enabling paraplegics to stand and walk. The company will deliver more units over the next few months.
While the unit weighs in at 45 pounds, it is transferred to the ground rather than to the patient. The system can accommodate most patients who weigh 220 or less and who are between 5’2” and 6’2” in height.
The company, which was founded in 2005, has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and has benefited from collaboration with researchers at UC Berkeley. In addition, the firm has licensed HULC technologyfrom Lockheed Martin.
The company also partnered with rehabilitation centers across the United States to complete a ten-month investigational study on 63 subjects who passed a preliminary health screening.
The company’s exoskeleton technology recently wowed the audience in attendance at the recentFutureMed event. Check out this excerpt from that presentation:
Investigational Studies Completed: All Paraplegic Patients Walked During First Session
BERKELEY, CA, Feb 15, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Ekso Bionics today announced that the first commercial unit of its Ekso exoskeleton was delivered yesterday, on February 14, to Craig Hospital in Denver. Ekso is a wearable robot that powers paraplegics up, enabling them to stand and walk. In addition — working together with top rehabilitation centers in the U.S. — Ekso Bionics just completed a ten-month Investigational Study of Ekso that entailed reciprocal information sharing and learning, training, as well as the definition of clinical protocols. Delivery of Eksos — beginning with Ekso Bionics’ Charter Rehabilitation Centers — will take place over the course of the next three months.
Ekso is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered exoskeleton designed for patients with spinal cord injuries and pathologies that inhibit their ability to walk. It is strapped over the user’s clothing. The patient doesn’t bear the weight, however, as the device transfers its 45 lb. load directly to the ground. Each Ekso can be adjusted in a few minutes to fit most people weighing 220 pounds or less, and between 5’2″ and 6’2″, with at least partial upper body strength, and can be adjusted to fit one patient and then another in minutes.
“We said we’d be shipping the first units in Q1 of 2012, and we made that deadline,” explained Eythor Bender, Ekso Bionics’ CEO. “Ekso Bionics has fulfilled all of the FDA requirements that empower the company to sell the first commercial version of the Ekso exoskeleton to rehabilitation centers,” he added. The sale of each exoskeleton to rehabilitation centers includes “Ekso +,” a comprehensive service, financing and training program.