The use of robotic exoskeleton devices to help people with severe spinal cord injury regain the ability to walk is not new. Now, however, a Belgian manufacturer is making a brain-controlled exoskeleton device that allows a person to move by thinking about walking.
The device, called the Mindwalker, consists of an exoskeleton frame, which is attached to the legs and torso. The device manages to redirect signals from the brain, so instead of traveling down a spinal cord, the communication goes through a computer, which gives the signal to move.
Unlike other bionic limbs, this exoskeleton device is not linked to electrodes that are situated inside the body. This particular model is also different from the Ekso System, which helps a person walk by registering shifts in weight.
One of the challenges with exoskeleton devices has been polishing the gait of walking. Typically, these robotic devices involve a nonhuman-like walking gait, which has been difficult to overcome. The Mindwalker does get over this hurdle to some extent. A person who has suffered a spinal cord injury, however, will still need crutches to use the device.
The developers say that the Mindwalker is easy to use and lighter than other devices.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Parsons Law Group know that workplace falls are some of the most frequent causes of spinal cord injuries. Workers can fall from ladders, roofs or scaffolding or trip on the ground. People who suffer severe spinal injuries are often left with some degree of paralysis.
Michael Parsons is an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer, representing injured workers in the metro Atlanta region and helping them recover the workers’ compensation benefits they have earned.