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Cheng-Hua Wu
&
Ting-Yun Wang

Title Applications of a Powered Lower Limb Exoskeleton on Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury
Authors Cheng-Hua Wu
&
Ting-Yun Wang
Abstract Powered lower limb exoskeleton can improve the mobility for people with movement deficits. FREE Walk is a wearable, lower limb powered exoskeleton designed to assist individuals with paralysis due to spinal cord injuries (SCI) to stand/sit and walk. A clinical study where 40 individuals with SCI (18-69 years, C7-T12, AIS A-D) went through at least 2 sessions (1-hour/session) of exoskeleton training per week, showed that the participants could successfully perform stand-up, sit-down, and walk after 6 to 25 hours of training (speed and distance covered in 6 minutes ranging from 0.07 to 0.36 m/sec and 5 to 124 meters, respectively). No severe adverse events, i.e., falls or fractures, were reported during training. These findings demonstrated that FREE Walk is safe and can assist individuals with low cervical SCI/high thoracic SCI and below to perform daily mobility tasks. Notably, an individual (T11, AIS D) demonstrated substantial changes in gait pattern with better knee/ankle control and faster walking speed resulted from increased cadence. Another individual with complete thoracic SCI (T10, AIS A) who has been using the exoskeleton as his ambulatory training tool since 2015 showed slight increment in his bone density indicating a potential long-term benefit of exoskeleton-use for bone health.