New Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Walk Again - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

New Robot Helps Stroke Survivors Walk Again

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Santa Clara, CA -

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 independent."

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

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

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