Losing the ability to walk is a big deal that can affect a person’s life in so many ways, but a new device is helping people who have an injured limb to regain their mobility. According to the Telegraph, the world’s first ‘bionic leg’ is a device that straps to the leg of injured patients and can take their weight, allowing them to sit, stand and walk – even up and down stairs. The device, made by California-based AlterG, is a battery-powered physiotherapy device that provides support to people with leg injuries, strokes and other mobility impairments so they can regain coordination and rebuild their muscles.
According to the Telegraph, the Bionic Leg has been used to help stroke patients learn to walk again, and allowed horse riders who were paralyzed in falls get their strength back and control their movements. One example is Katie Watson, a 19-year-old British jockey who was nearly paralyzed in a car accident. Watson used the Bionic Leg to make a swift recovery to the point that she can now walk unaided and even ride a horse. “It’s absolutely amazing,” she told the Express. “The leg has helped me so much. I would wear it every day for half an hour and its effects would carry over. At first I used a walking frame, two sticks, then one stick and now I can walk unaided. Four weeks ago I got back on a horse and I want to get back to race riding again.”
How does it work? When a person wearing the device is walking normally, it lets the leg swing freely and when the time comes to sit or take some stairs, the sensors and robotics in the device activate to provide support for a controlled descent or ascent. It also provides support for standing.
Images via AlterG