Paralyzed for the past 20 years, former Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof now walks down the street issuing a faint mechanical hum. That is the sound of an electronic exoskeleton that moves the 41-year-old's legs and propels him forward. "I never dreamed I would walk again. After I was wounded, I forgot what it's like," said Kaiof, who was injured while serving in the Israeli military in 1988. "Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below."
A robotic exoskeleton developed by Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has helped a paraplegic sportsman walk over and hug his mother for the first time in 10 years. Korean para-athlete and pro-archer Jun-beom Park was confined to a wheelchair in 2008 after being involved in an accident as a school boy. He damaged his thoracic vertebrae – the small bones that form the spine – in an incident that left him unable to walk. Now, 11 years on, the archery star has taken his'second first steps' thanks to an'exoskeleton suit' developed by Hyundai Motors Robotics Lab in Seoul, South Korea. In a heartwarming video produced by Hyundai, Jun-beom, 28, is seen putting his weight on his legs to stand up from his wheelchair, aided by the Hyundai Medical Exoskeleton (H-MEX).
Paraplegics and people who are temporarily wheelchair-bound because of accidents or disease could soon rely on an exoskeleton and Amazon's Alexa digital assistant to help them in the rehabilitation process. Bionik Laboratories' ARKE lower body exoskeleton is an Alexa-enabled device designed to assist users in walking and improving their condition.
Patients used Oculus Rift to practice walking with avatars. When the Walk Again Project was founded in 2013, an international consortium of scientists had an ambitious goal to teach paraplegic patients to walk using a brain-controlled robotic exoskeleton. But a year into the study, they were surprised to discover that the results were even better than they could have imagined: the patients could feel and move their legs again. It's hard to say exactly which aspect of the therapy is responsible for the remarkable recovery, because the project involved a combination of three different setups. Additionally, the study only involved a small sample of eight patients.