DETROIT — This week, DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan became the eighth rehabilitation hospital in the United States to receive Ekso, a wearable, robotic exoskeleton that powers people with lower extremity paralysis or weakness to get them standing up and walking.
Made by Berkeley, Calif.-based Ekso Bionics, Ekso is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered bionic device that is strapped over the user’s clothing. The combination of motors and sensors, along with patient assist with balance and body positioning, allow the user to walk over ground with reciprocal gait.
RIM has been instrumental in the final development and testing of Ekso. RIM was among the first 10 rehabilitation centers in the country selected by Ekso Bionics to conduct investigational trials and partner in ongoing research. Physical therapists at RIM’s Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery will be using Ekso to primarily treat spinal cord injury patients for balance, posture and gait training.
“The Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery has a history of seeking out the most innovative and state-of-the-art technologies and therapeutic treatments for improving function and quality of life after a spinal cord injury,” says William H. Restum, PhD, President, RIM. “We believe Ekso is an exciting opportunity to further advance the functional recovery of the patients we serve.”
Earlier this year, six RIM patients; five paraplegics and one quadriplegic, participated in an investigational trial of Ekso at RIM. All six patients were able to walk using Ekso. Their emotional first steps were documented on video at http://youtu.be/vv3WH9E1sP4
Ekso Bionics plans to market a unit for personal use in latter 2014. For more information about Ekso at RIM, call (313) 745-9932.
DMC Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan is home to many innovative programs, including the Southeastern Michigan Traumatic Brain Injury System, one of only 16 federally designated centers of excellence in the U.S. for the treatment of brain injuries, and the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Recovery, a world-class facility designed to implement and study innovative treatments in spinal cord injury recovery. RIM is one of eight hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center.