Walking 2.0: Ekso Bionics Delivers Its First Commercial Exoskeleton

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Ekso Bionics has recently delivered the ready-to-wear, battery-powered Ekso exoskeleton to its first customer, the Craig Hospital in Denver, an institution dedicated to spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. The Ekso system is strapped on to the user over clothing, enabling paraplegics to stand and walk. The company will deliver more units over the next few months.

While the unit weighs in at 45 pounds, it is transferred to the ground rather than to the patient. The system can accommodate most patients who weigh 220 or less and who are between 5'2" and 6'2" in height.

The company, which was founded in 2005, has been supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Defense and has benefited from collaboration with researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, the firm has licensed HULC technology from Lockheed Martin.

The company also partnered with rehabilitation centers across the United States to complete a ten-month investigational study on 63 subjects who passed a preliminary health screening.

The company's exoskeleton technology recently wowed the audience in attendance at the recent FutureMed event. Check out this excerpt from that presentation:

From the press release:

"We said we'd be shipping the first units in Q1 of 2012, and we made that deadline," explained Eythor Bender, Ekso Bionics' CEO. "Ekso Bionics has fulfilled all of the FDA requirements that empower the company to sell the first commercial version of the Ekso exoskeleton to rehabilitation centers," he added. The sale of each exoskeleton to rehabilitation centers includes "Ekso +," a comprehensive service, financing, and training program.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

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