Technology Review – Let’s Walk!

Enjoying a "stroll" in the park

This is the first in a series of weekly blog entries that will present and discuss current technologies in the world of neuro-rehabilitaiton.  The theme for the next several posts will be assistive walking devices – and I’m not talking about a cane, a walker or even a Segway, but technology that could help people to walk who would otherwise be confined to a wheelchair.

My most recent post, I feel like RoboCop, introduced an impressive robotic gait training device, the Lokomat.  We utilize the Lokomat at Aim2Walk because we did our research and found it to be the most useful for a therapeutic setting.  The Lokomat, however, is not the only way to walk if you are unable to walk on your own.  There a several other devices, either on the market or soon to be released on the market, and I’d like to introduce some of them here.

But first, the following exchange occurred recently between me and my 3 year old daughter:

Me, to my 3 year old in the washroom with the door closed: “It’s a little too quiet in there. What are you doing sweetie?”

3 year old: “Nothing.  Just putting my finger in there.”

Me: “Uhh, in where sweetie?”

3 year old: “In this funny thing.”

Before she started her last sentence I was already in the washroom to find her sitting on the toilet with her finger wrapped in a nearby shower puff.  No harm, no foul.

What did I learn from this interaction?
1) kids stick fingers in places because it’s a fun thing to do
2) observing is much more helpful than hearing or reading about something

On that note, rather than me trying to describe them, please enjoy viewing the following videos of assistive walking devices (other than the Lokomat).  In the upcoming weeks, I will be reviewing each device individually from the point of view of a Physiotherapist.

ReWalk 

HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb)

REX

Honda Walk-Assist

ZeroG

Are there any readers that have ever tried any of the above devices?  They are not all are available in North America as of yet but the future of gait training and neuro-rehabilitation looks bright.

The ReWalk is first up for review next week.  Stay tuned!

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