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Robotic Exoskeleton

Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M, Ann Arbor, MI) developed a robotic exoskeleton controlled by the wearer's own nervous system that could help users regain limb function. Healthy subjects first wore the exoskeleton to measure how the device affected ankle function before researchers tested the device on disabled patients. Electrodes are attached to the wearer's leg and electrical signals received from the brain are translated into movement by the exoskeleton. The U-M team has no plans to build a commercial exoskeleton, but their results suggest promising applications for rehabilitation and physical therapy.

“This could benefit stroke patients or patients with incomplete injuries of the spinal cord,” said Daniel Ferris, associate professor in movement science at U-M. “For patients that can walk slowly, a brace like this may help them walk faster and more effectively.”

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