Harvard's exoskeleton enhances walking, reduces falls in Parkinson's patients

Exoskeleton’s system ability also focuses on helping individuals with many kinds of mobility impairments
The image shows a man wearing exoskeleton.— Freepik
The image shows a man wearing exoskeleton.— Freepik

In the assistive category of robots, Harvard’s exoskeleton is significantly helpful in assisting people with Parkinson’s disease to move with ease.

The robotic skeleton’s ability is not only limited to resolving Parkinson's disease, it also focuses on helping individuals with mobility impairments.

Since freezing is the most frequent issue faced by Parkinson’s patients, the exoskeleton primarily serves as the aid to reduce the likelihood of falling in Parkinson's patients, as per a report published by Tech Crunch.

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There have been several attempts in the domain of medication, physical therapy, and surgery, to address the issue, but most of them failed or had limited efficiency.

However, a group of scientists from Harvard and Boston University in a research, published in Nature Medicine, demonstrated the potential of soft robotic exoskeletons to be an efficient remedy.

“We found that just a small amount of mechanical assistance from our soft robotic apparel delivered instantaneous effects and consistently improved walking across a range of conditions for the individual in our study,” says Harvard professor, Conor Walsh.

In the Biodesign Lab of Harvard, the team of researchers worked with a 73-year-old Parkinson’s patient who suffered severe freezing at a frequency of 10 ten times a day. The research was concluded with complete elimination of freezing and making the old man able to walk faster properly.

“The effect was instantaneous. Without any special training, the patient was able to walk without any freezing indoors and with only occasional episodes outdoors. He was also able to walk and talk without freezing, a rarity without the device,” Harvard noted.