Healthwatch: Robot Rehab

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Healthwatch_ Robot Rehab_-5429399942833158283
RICHMOND, Cali. (WFRV) – A futuristic robot is helping victims of stroke and spinal cord injuries learn how to walk again.

Martha Burger was a super mom, active both with her kids and at the gym.

“I was doing Insanity classes with a couple of friends at the Y,” Burger said. “And I was also gearing myself up to try to run a five mile run in town that we have every year.”

Until one afternoon, when she became dizzy and noticed her fingers were numb. She chalked it up to her intense workouts, but later that night she collapsed from a stroke.

“I just remember my son who was five, was just screaming, ‘Mommy get up, mommy get up,'” Burger said. “I could not move at all. I’ve got a little bit back since then with a lot of hard work, a lot of therapy.”

Therapy that included the use of a bionic suit.

The exoskeleton known as Ekso combined with physical therapy is helping Burger reach her goal of walking on her own again.

Sensors in the suit detect when users shift their weight forward, which triggers the device to step.

Melissa Pullia, a physical therapist as Ekso Bionics, said, “We can program the robot to give her time to think about it, rather than the robot just doing it herself.”

“When i got in it was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is this thing?'” Burger said.

In seven months Burger went from 200 to 1,000 steps per session.

“We want to get our patients up,” Pullia said. “We want to get them moving. We want to optimize everything that they have, but we also want to do it quickly and in an efficient amount of time, and using this device helps us do that.”

“It really helped me a lot,” Burger concluded.

Help and hope that eventually these steps will all be on her own.

20 states currently offer therapy.

The machines aren’t just being used in rehab centers.

Another exoskeleton maker called Re-Walk now has an at home version for patients for around $70,000.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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