Exoskeleton Walking Program

At the exoskeleton walking program of the Abilities Research Center (ARC), our specialists evaluate and refine advanced technologies designed to help you improve your mobility and independence. These high-tech devices include lower-body robotics, upright mobile wheelchairs, powered exoskeletons for standing and walking, and leading-edge orthotics and prosthetics. Repetitive use of these technologies will help patients build muscle strength, boost muscle memory, and promote the neuroplasticity needed for regaining fine motor skills and movement.

Prior to training, patients undergo a clinical, functional, and neurophysiological evaluation, as well as a screening to determine if a caregiver is required to help the participant during therapy. Participation also requires a physician's approval.

Technologies

The following technologies promote independence by helping patients to stand and walk under the guidance of our ARC team.

ReWalk
ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that delivers powered knee and hip motion, allowing patients who have a spinal cord injury to stand and walk. The wearer controls movement using subtle changes in his or her center of gravity. A tilt forward is detected by the system and the first step is initiated.

The indications for use of ReWalk technology include the following:

  • Hands and shoulders can support crutches or walker
  • Healthy bone density
  • Skeleton does not suffer from any fractures
  • Ability to stand using a device such as EasyStand
  • General good health
  • Height between 5 foot 3 inches and 6 foot 2 inches
  • Weight that does not exceed 220 pounds

The contraindications for use of ReWalk technology include the following:

  • History of severe neurological injuries other than spinal cord injury, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, traumatic brain injury
  • Severe concurrent medical diseases, such as infections, circulatory conditions, heart or lung conditions, or damaged skin due to staying in one place (pressure sores)
  • Severe uncontrolled muscle movement (spasticity)
  • Unstable spine or unhealed limb or pelvic fractures
  • Certain types of abnormal bone growth (heterotopic ossification)
  • Significant contraction of your connective tissue (contracture)
  • Psychiatric or cognitive conditions that could interfere with proper operation of the device
  • Pregnancy

EksoGT
The EksoGT is an exoskeleton, a robotic device that assists in walking. By promoting correct movement patterns and challenging patients to progress towards independence, this exoskeleton helps patients stand and walk sooner than they would with traditional rehabilitation. Clinical evidence suggests that training in the EksoGT can improve functional balance, walking distance, and gait speed. EksoGT fits patients who are under 220 pounds and between 5′ 0” and 6’4″ tall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our ARC experts are happy to provide the following insights and information in response to usual questions and concerns:

Who can benefit from this program?
Anyone with lower extremity weakness or paralysis caused by a neurological illness or injury may benefit.

Who cannot participate in this program?
Each device has exclusion criteria. Participants must weigh 220 pounds or less, be approximately between 5’0” and 6’4” tall, and have near normal range of motion in hips, knees, and ankles.

How long is this program?
We will evaluate you and tailor the program to meet your needs.

How long is each therapy session?
Treatment sessions usually take 1-1.5 hours.

Do I need a prescription to enroll?
No, however we require a medical clearance form from your physician and encourage you to speak with your doctor as needed and disclose any pertinent medical conditions prior to participation in a program.

Do I need to pay in full before starting the program?
No. We offer installment payment options. If you wish to pay in full, you may pay by personal check or credit card before beginning the program.