A bionic suit has started to help several paralyzed patients to walk again at Huntington Memorial Hospital in California.
According to ABC, the Ekso Bionic Suit was originally designed to help members of the military carry heavy loads. But the suit is now being used to help paralyzed patients walk again.
Andy Bloom, who took his first steps in two years thanks to the bionic suit, said:
“Mentally it’s a wonderful feeling to be upright and moving … Right now, I don’t really need anybody holding me. I can lift my hands up and put a little weight on these crutches and feel pretty comfortable.”
Zee News reports that the suit weighs about 45 pounds but all of that weight is transferred to the ground so the patient doesn’t really feel it. The suit, which costs about $150,000 is worn over a person’s clothes and thanks to a couple of foot plate sensors the bionic suit can detect a person’s center of gravity.
The bionic suit may not be the perfect solution but Bloom said that he was very encouraged by the progress researchers have made.
“I have no doubt in my lifetime that there will be some sort of solution for spinal cord injuries. I firmly believe that I will be able to walk in the future. It’s just a matter of time.”
Here’s a video about the bionic suit from ABC.