A new type of flexible exoskeleton could help stroke survivors walk again.
We already knew about rigid exoskeletons capable of making patients walk again after a serious accident that damaged their spinal cord. But researchers from the universities of Waterloo in Canada and Harvard in the United States recently published a new project in the Annals of New York Academy of Sciences: that ofa small flexible exoskeleton, which is placed at the ankleand which allows stroke survivors to regain a more fluid gait, as reported by Le Monde.
The idea is not to perform the movement in place of the patient, but rather tostimulate and support the process. The objective of this exoskeleton is to gain autonomy after a stroke. A study was conducted in a small number of participants, without medical supervision. Only an application allowed them to report their walking times and their feelings, with a sensor that recorded different factors.
Improve the aesthetics of movements
It emerged that the device had made it possible toimprove propulsion by 27%, and resulted in walking more : an average of 4,000 more steps were recorded in patients after the study. Of course, it is not a question of replacing therapy with health professionals, but simply of complete with home rehabilitationand more generally to improve the quality of life of patients.
Thanks to this small tool, the gestures of people who have survived a stroke could gradually improve, train them to walk more and allow them more aesthetics in their movements, note the researchers.
Sources: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Le Monde