Robot Helps Stroke Patients Walk Again

Published 06/20 2014 04:39PM

Updated 06/20 2014 04:41PM

A bionic suit is helping stroke survivors learn to walk again. Dez Duru is walking a month after having a stroke, that left one side of her body extremely weak.
She's among a dozen stroke patients, testing the battery-powered, wearable exoskeleton. The robot is not walking "for" her. Instead, when Dez shifts her weight, sensors in the suit are activated which initiates steps.  
The Ekso GT suit helps patients take more than 300 steps in a single session. Without the suit, some are only able to take about two-dozen steps.

Dr. Karen Nolan says getting the patient up and walking right after a stroke is key. "It gives them the feeling of that left, right, left, right walking pattern to help their brain connect to the motion and hopefully we can get that change to stick," she explains.

Dez is expected to be released from Kessler this week. She is getting married in December. She'll continue outpatient therapy and says she's looking forward to walking down the aisle without any help. 

The technology has also been tested on patients with spinal cord injuries. Researchers hope to test people with traumatic brain injuries. next.

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