No doubt you’ve heard of Marieke Vervoort, one of the most inspiring Paralympic Athletes. Of Belgium. Witnessing her taking a few steps for the first time in 15 years on August 26 th, 2015, you had to be impressed not only by her determination but also by how far technology has come. She was the first patient in the Benelux to be able to test the Rex Bionics robot.
We all have seen robot exoskeletons before, but Rex Bionics is different in its kind. It is the world’s first self-supported, hands-free robotic walking device. It enables people sitting in a wheelchair to stand up without the support of crutches or a walking frame, providing stability to walk around on hard flat surfaces.
How doest it work?
Rex Bionics allows users to self-transfer from their wheelchair to the exoskeleton, after which they can control their movements through the use of a joystick or control pad. Physiotherapists are currently working with Rex Bionics to establish Robot-Assisted Physiotherapy. The bionic legs can be used to help people on their long road to rehabilitation after a spinal injury. Being able to use this during rehab, from time to time, would be really interesting and exciting. The benifits of the Robolegs go far beyond just the physical aspects. Being able to stand up and be eye to eye when you are in a conversation with someone or reach for an item on the top shelf is a life-changing experience for those who haven’t been able to stand up straight for so many years.
Also impressive, is the price tag on one of these amazing machines. One robot is easily 160.000 euros, but then again, the chance to walk again, wouldn’t that seem priceless?
Video source: Rex Bionics