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Robotic Exoskeleton Designed by UC Berkeley Researchers Helps Paraplegic Walk

A robotic exoskeleton developed by a team of researchers at UC Berkeley has helped a Berkeley student affected by paralysis walk again. The exoskeleton was designed under the supervision of a Berkeley professor of mechanical engineering, Homayoon Kazerooni. His team of researchers have been developing exoskeletons in the shape of leg braces, to aid paraplegics in walking.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) provided financial aid to Kazerooni’s research back in 2000, which was aimed at assisting soldiers to transport heavy loads for long durations. His research team introduced the robotic machine meant for military purposes in 2004. In 2010, the research team introduced the eLegs, which was designed to help paraplegics to walk.

In 2009, Cyberdyne developed a robotic suit called the Robot Suit HAL which was specifically designed for medical rehabilitation. This exoskeleton helped stroke patients and those who suffered spinal cord injury. According to Cyberdyne, it could also prove useful for workers performing physically exhausting tasks in disaster sites or factories.

Researchers state that robotic exoskeletons have similar characteristic features. The exoskeletons usually come equipped with a computer processor to control the movements, motorized joints controlled by actuators, mechanical braces, battery power source, and electronic sensors.

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