Hive Health Media

Exoskeleton Suits : Helping Wheelchair Users To Walk Again

This year exciting new assistive technology for people who have mobility related disorders is becoming available. By the end of the year, not one but three international medical manufacturers will have robotic legs on the market to help people with mobility related disabilities to walk again.

Robotic devices for those with mobility issues?

These new robotic devices, called exoskeleton suits are being developed by companies around the world for several different purposes. For example, military applications as well as industrial applications of exoskeleton suits are being developed by some manufacturers. But the medical application of helping the many people with mobility related disabilities is the first one to come to market.

With over 3 million wheelchair users in the United States and over 5 million wheelchair users in Europe, the market for mobility products is already very large. But with the greying of the population and baby boomers becoming senior citizens, the numbers of people requiring assistive technology to help with mobility related disorders is expected to continue to rise. Therefore the potential for exoskeleton suits as assistive technology for wheelchair users and other people with mobility related disorders is enormous.

How much do exoskeleton units cost?

With prices currently over $100,000 per unit, exoskeleton suits will not replace wheelchairs anytime soon. But since three manufacturers are bringing exoskeleton suits to the market almost simultaneously and several other manufacturers are under development with competitive devices, costs are almost certain to come down.

Second generation exoskeleton suits will almost certainly be less expensive than the current models and with lower prices, we can expect to see wider use of this technology.

It is not hard to imagine a time that the exoskeleton suit will move from the world of science fiction and fantasy to the real world and help paraplegics to walk again. Read more about the new exoskeleton suit for wheelchair users.

Dr. Gene Emmer is the owner of the company which manufactures RehaDesign wheelchair accessories as well as the owner of a wheelchair website.

1 Comment

  1. Jarret Morrow

    September 7, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Dr. Emmer, thank you for your post. It’s interesting to see that these devices are moving away from the realm of scifi.

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