ExoAtlet® I is a medical exoskeleton designed for the rehabilitation of patients with locomotive impairments to their lower limbs sustained as the result of an accident, an operation or illness of the locomotive system or nervous system. Its main applications are for the restoration of impaired locomotive functions and the compensation of lost functions.
In its current form, ExoAtlet can be used by those who have lost full or partial function of their lower limbs. The patient must have enough arm strength to support themselves on crutches, which helps them to keep their balance when their legs are moving, as well as to control the device. The buttons for controlling the exoskeleton are located on the handles of the crutches. The control system is based on signals from force/torque sensors and an electromyogram.
With the help of ExoAtlet, which is attached to the wearer like an external skeleton, patients obtain the ability to stand up, sit down, walk and go up and down stairs without assistance. Starting from the third to fifth day of training, patients can put on ExoAtlet themselves, which simplifies the job of the physiotherapist conducting the training session. The frame and sensors are attached to the upper and lower parts of the legs. The computer containing the control system and the battery, which lasts for six to eight hours of movement, are located on the back. The patient does not feel the weight of the construction (about 20 kilograms), since the exoskeleton is designed to walk automatically and carries both itself and the wearer. It moves at the speed and stride natural to the wearer, as it can be set to a comfortable pace thanks to a specially adapted control system. The parameters input by medical staff individually for each user help the exoskeleton to walk at a comfortable speed and with the length and height of each step required by the user.
It takes from one to several days for the patient to learn how to keep their balance and start to walk again using the exoskeleton, depending on their level of physical preparation. At first they will walk slowly. To cement these skills, users will have to walk several kilometres under the supervision of a doctor. The ExoAtlet® I is designed exclusively for use in medical facilities, and has a wide range of functions that make it possible to monitor the person’s recovery and adjust the rehabilitation methodology and reference point programme. The training process, which is preceded by an obligatory medical checkup, is as follows: Several people at a time use exoskeletons to walk along corridors or a specially equipped physiotherapy room while a doctor monitors the condition of each one of them in real time. An additional option with the ExoAtlet® I is to stimulate the muscles using electrical impulses synchronised with the movement of the ExoAtlet.
After the training has been completed, patients may begin home-based rehabilitation with their own ExoAtlet® Personal. Under this option, doctors continue to monitor the process remotely using telemetric data and the patient retains direct contact with the clinic regarding medical issues.
Walking automatically in a way that copies a person’s movement as naturally as possible allows some patients to regain movement in their lower limbs. But in all cases without exception, training in an ExoAtlet result in a significant improvement in the user’s health, thanks to the organism being upright and walking. It has already been proven that training in an ExoAtlet facilitates the normalisation of arterial blood pressure, increases lung capacity, prevents the dystrophy of muscle and bone tissue, and increases joint mobility.
ExoAtlet helps not only in medical rehabilitation but in the social and emotional wellbeing of people with locomotive impairments. The ability to get up from a wheelchair and look your interlocutor in the eye improves patients’ well-being, motivates them to take on new challenges and infuses them with positive emotions, whose health-giving effect is still to be studied. Along the way, there will be many discoveries.