Paralysed Man Walks Again Using an Awesome Exo-Skeleton

By James O Malley on at

In 2010 Mark Pollock from Northern Ireland was paralysed from the waist down after a fall from a second-storey window - but using some amazing new technology, he is starting to be able to walk again.

The Washington Post reports that researcher Parag Gad from the University of California and his team have managed to treat Mark using an electrical current treatment that aimed to reactivate the neurons on his spinal chord.

Apparently following the treatment Mark reported felt a tingling in his lower limbs for the first time since the accident - and it was noticed that his lower back was sweating, another first since the accident.

Then came the super cool part: He was given a robotic suit developed by Ekso Bionics which enables the wearer to move in a "step-like" fashion.

The exo-skeleton is battery powered, and apparently captures data that helps scientists figure out whether he is moving unaided or mechanically with the suit (technically, scientists don't consider aided movement as 'walking') - but either way, it is good news:

"It will be difficult to get people with chronic, complete paralysis to walk completely independently, but even if they don't accomplish that, the fact they can assist themselves in walking will greatly improve their overall health and quality of life," V. Reggie Edgerton, senior author and a UCLA professor of integrative biology, is quoted as saying about the development.

[Washington Post]