Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010

eLegs Exoskeleton

For paraplegic patients, being able to stand — not to mention take a few steps — under their own power is a cruelly unattainable goal. Or at least it has been. But the makers of eLegs, an innovative exoskeleton, are hoping to change that, one step at a time. The robotic prosthetic legs use artificial intelligence to "read" the wearer's arm gestures via a set of crutches, simulating a natural human gait. It's the first such device to do so without a tether, and it was inspired by military exoskeletons that soldiers strap on to lift heavy packs. The device requires some getting used to, so it will initially be available only at rehabilitation centers for use with a trained physical therapist, but it may hit the home market by 2013.