Technological and medical progress never cease to amaze us. Scientists from all over the world are working every day to improve our lifestyle and help those in need. Last week there has been an improvement in cancer treatment, yesterday we saw that we found out how to postpose H.I.V. and today we find out that a paralyzed man walks after 5 years.
Yes, an Irishman who fell from a two-story building in London back in 2010 was finally able to walk with the help of an exoskeleton. Specialists are saying that he was able to make thousands of steps and, in all truth, we can only imagine how happy this man must have felt after having got accustomed to the idea that he will never walk in his life ever again.
The paralyzed man was Mark Pollock and a team of UCLA scientists confirmed that he was able to even control his leg muscles while walking. The technological feature is now so advanced that Mr. Pollock could walk years after he last made use of his legs. And he did not just walk for an hour or two. He was able to walk through the five days of training and in the following two weeks as well.
So how does this exoskeleton work? It is practically a suit powered by a battery and it allows its wearer to move step by step. The suit also has sensors that properly estimate how much of the movement is performed by the wearer and how much is performed by the suit and it was established that Pollock assisted the robot voluntarily, greatly facilitating his movement.
The UCLA have declared that Pollock is the first ever person who was completely paralyzed but regained the right amount of voluntary control and both aided and was aided by the suit. However, they are reluctant to characterizing this achievement as “walking” because it would not exactly be possible without the suit’s aid and without spinal stimulation.
Still, it is as close to walking as we can get. Getting out of bed and walking with the help of a suit is way better than not getting out of bed at all, so Mr. Pollock was the first man lucky enough to try the new device. Surely, more people are going to experience the same sensation very soon and sitting in bed will be a thing of the past.
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