The spinal cord is, quite literally, the central way in which the human body works. It is a key piece of the human puzzle, connecting the brain to the rest of the body via a massive network of nerves. The spinal cord can be damaged by multiple mechanisms including traumatic gunshot wounds, motor vehicle accidents, and falls, among others. When the spinal cord’s connection to the brain is interrupted due to a blood clot, that’s called a spinal cord stroke.
Robotic exoskeletons have emerged as a helpful rehabilitation tool for disabled and people suffering from several health-related consequences after a spinal cord injury (SCI).
Exoskeletons are wearable robotic units, controlled by computer boards to power a system of motors, pneumatics, levers, or hydraulics to restore locomotion and improve quality of life. Used by facilities for rehabilitation purposes in medical centers or home use, Exoskeletons have the potential to revolutionize rehabilitation following SCI.
A tetraplegic is one who has suffered partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
Each year, it is estimated that 250,000 to 500,000 people worldwide suffer a spinal cord injury, and that 59 percent of those living with the injury are tetraplegic—experiencing the total loss of use of all four limbs and torso. Innovative research from Clinatec and the Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA) has resulted in a first for a tetraplegic patient. Using a four-limb exoskeleton controlled by a neuroprosthetic, he was able to walk and use his arms.
The Lancet Neurology: Pioneering study suggests that an exoskeleton for tetraplegia could be feasible
A 4-limb robotic system controlled by brain signals helped a tetraplegic man to move his arms and walk using a ceiling-mounted harness for balance
The brain-computer interface lets paralyzed people type using their thoughts.
For the first time, doctors are preparing to test a brain-computer interface that can be implanted onto a human brain, no open surgery required.
The Stentrode, a neural implant that can let paralyzed people communicate, can be delivered to a patient’s brain through the jugular vein — and the company that developed it, Synchron, just got approval to begin human experimentation.
Kessler Foundation Highlights Research Advances at 2018 UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Foundation demonstrates the application of wearable robotics for individuals with spinal cord injury at United Nations program, The Art of the Possible
Each year, the United Nations commemorates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (UNIDPD) on December 3. This year, Kessler Foundation joins the IDPD program to demonstrate the contributions of rehabilitation research toward empowering people with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality across all nations. The application of new technologies, such as robotics, virtual reality, and smart devices, is a major strategy scientists are using for finding new ways to help people recover from disabling injuries and illnesses.
A new robotic treatment device helping people with spinal cord injuries learn to walk again can only be found in one place in the United States; Brooks Rehabilitation in Jacksonville.
People with limited mobility or paralysis could be able to use their hands again thanks to a robotic exoskeleton which can be controlled by brainwaves.
The lightweight and portable devices are being developed in the Geneva lab of Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) and can restore functional grasps for those with physical impairments.
It is hoped that refined versions of the kit will allow people to complete meaningful daily tasks.
Steve Adubato goes on-location to the Kessler Foundation’s 16th annual “Stroll ‘N Roll” and speaks with Rosalie Hannigan, a Kessler spinal cord research participant, about her accident and her journey to recover her mobility.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) patients come to Burke’s inpatient acute rehabilitation program directly from the hospital/trauma center where they were treated and stabilized to prevent further damage to the spinal cord. Once at Burke, an intensive rehabilitation phase begins.
Physical therapy is crucial at this stage, because many of the gains the patient will make in movement happen during this time. Strengthening muscles and improving flexibility shapes the individual’s ability to make ongoing progress afterwards.