OT: Paraplegic teen might kick off the World Cup using an exoskeleton

Submitted by Erik_in_Dayton on January 7th, 2014 at 5:59 PM



The first link above describes the plans/hopes of researchers and the World Cup to have a yet-to-be-chosen paraplegic teenager give a ceremonial first kick at the event by use of an exoskeleton.  The second link is a YouTube clip of a paraplegic guy walking with an exoskeleton and crutches while someone manipulates the exoskeleton from behind - I posted this just to give people an idea of what they might see at the World Cup. 

I've seen someone on Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman seemingly walk with an exoskeleton without crutches and by inputing information into the unit using only her brain, but I can't find a clip of that.  The World Cup folks apparently hope that their teenager will be using the latter type of exoskeleton...I'm not a scientist, but I believe a scientist would describe the above as "f***ing awesome" if it happens.   


 Walk Again Project


NOLA Wolverine

January 7th, 2014 at 8:38 PM ^

That looks like one heck of a balancing act if that machine is going to have her really boot it. Always great to mix science and sports into a feel good story like this. 


January 8th, 2014 at 8:41 AM ^

Primarily via DARPA grants for rehab/prosthetic research due to the plethora of blast injuries from Iraq/Afghanistan.  Myoelectric prostheses are controlled by electrodes that are implanted along the path of proximal, existing nerves and muscles.  And if you watch Grey's Anatomy, the stuff that the Neurosurgeon has been doing with implantable brain electrodes controlling prostheses has been brewing for at least 8 years.  

The main limitation is a material science problem; these new limbs are too heavy for prolonged use, even for combat vets who are much healthier than the average limb amputee.