The design of exoskeletons was conceived with the aim of providing external support to the user to perform a specific function. Exoskeletons are made up of a system of electro-mechanical devices that fit onto the extremities of the human body.
The applications of this type of device in the medical industry are mostly therapeutic. Some of the main indications are paraplegia, paralysis, neuromuscular disorders, stroke, spinal cord injury and, recently, multiple sclerosis (MS ).
One of the main leaders in the development of this technology is the company Ekso Bionics Holdings. Since 2005, the company has been developing exoskeletons for medical and military purposes. In FY2020, the segment reported revenues of $8.07bn, which accounted for 90.8% of the company’s total revenue. The company offers the technology for therapeutic purposes to rehabilitation centres and individual users.
Esko ’s clinical trials have been focused on stroke rehabilitation, robotic rehabilitation, spinal cord injury management and neurogenic bowel, among others. The EksoNR offers support for the postural trunk, knee, hip and ankle; this encourages lower extremity movement in the patient through sensors that detect patients’ instability movements and provide feedback to support them while walking or standing.
The improved version of Ekso GT has been shown to have greater benefits in neurorehabilitation. The technology has features such as data capture, posture support, clinician control and smart assist software, among others. This device was the first of its kind to receive Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for therapeutic indications for stroke, acquired brain injury (ABI), and now MS. With this, the company hopes to contribute to the health of more patients with therapeutic needs with these indications.