New Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Walk Again

New Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Walk Again (Image 1)

There is new hope for
stroke survivors. 

Researchers are testing a
wearable robotic device that can help them walk again.

It was tested today at a
northern California hospital.  

Lyanne Melendez takes a look.

On June 4th, Richard and Cindy Torres'
lives changed dramatically after he suffered a stroke.

Cindy Torres, “He was getting up
for work, he had a stroke and then we were at the hospital.”

Today, Torres tested a new robotic
device at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. 
The stroke affected his speech and the right side of his body.

While he is able to pick up his left
leg on his own, the robotic exoskeleton helps him move the right leg–allowing
him to walk.

“It's a little bit like cruise
control with a car.  If you are trying to
get somewhere and it adapts to the terrain that is in front of you up and down hills
this will adapt to the patient's strength.”

The device comes with a backpack that
includes two batteries, four motors and a computer.  It was developed by Richmond based company
EKSO bionics.

The stroke damaged blood vessels.  The brain now has a hard time communicating
information which would normally tell his body to move or speak.

The only way to improve is through
constant practice.  In a typical physical
therapy session Torres would probably walk 10 feet, but with the EKSO device
today he walked 360 feet.

Dr. Stephanie Kolakowsky-Hayner, “This
technology will help individuals after spinal cord injuries, stroke

and brain injuries, anyone with a
mobility issue become more mobile and get out there again and become more

“It's kind of exciting, hopefully it
will help him walk better and hopefully it will help other patients down the

For Torres, the road toward
independence began today.  The device is
being tested here and at other hospitals.

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