Soft Robotic Exosuit Helps Stroke Sufferers Walk Again

Published by , November 21, 2016 3:01 am

(Guardian) Conor Walsh’s Harvard Biodesign Lab is home to a remarkable research project that aims to revolutionize the science of “soft robotics” and, in the process, transform the fortunes of stroke victims by helping them walk again. “Essentially, we are making clothing that will give power to people who have suffered mobility impairment and help them move,” says Professor Walsh, head of the biodesign laboratory. “It will help them lift their feet and walk again. It is the ultimate in power-dressing.”
Videos of stroke patients wearing Walsh’s soft exosuits and walking on treadmills reveal a marked improvement in their movement. Once fitted with the suits, they no longer clutch the handrails and their strides become much quicker and more confident. Walsh said, “There will always be a place for hard exoskeleton power suits, for example, for people who are completely paralysed. But for less severe problems, soft robotic suits, with their lightness and flexibility, are a better solution.”

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