A state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility in Sheffield is set to host an exclusive industry event that showcases the very latest in exoskeleton technology, by the very people that the technology is designed to help.
STEPS Rehabilitation is a new, architecturally ground-breaking facility that provides highly specialist intensive and ongoing rehabilitation for people recovering from neurological and multiple trauma injuries. It is one of only a small number of centres in the UK that provides this type of rehabilitation.
This event is a rare occasion when 3 exoskeletons models currently available in the UK will be demonstrated together. The REX, ReWalk 6.0 and Ekso GT will be demonstrated to a group of leading industry medical practitioners – all of whom have an interest in learning more about the technology and the benefits they bring to patients.
As an emerging technology with a variety of applications from medical rehabilitation to use in industrial manufacturing, exoskeletons have received significant public-sector investment in recent years. Exoskeletons fall within the Great British Technology area of Robotics and Autonomous Systems. Innovate UK has funded £22m on wearable robotics, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council [EPSRC] £193m and others £40m. However, despite this investment the potential of exoskeletons isn’t yet fully appreciated.
There are currently around 25 exoskeletons being used by people in the UK for medical purposes. The people who are currently benefitting most from the technology are those who have suffered from a spinal injury, stroke or a head injury.
Those supporting and working with exoskeleton users believe that the impact of the suits is remarkable and extensive.
Patients using an exoskeleton experience amelioration in their condition, including: improved bladder and bowel functionality, circulation and bone density; reduction in neuropathic pain and spasms; functional mobility improvements and muscle strength; considerable psychological benefits and an ability to pursue everyday tasks and hobbies.
This event provides the media with an opportunity to not only communicate an important message about technology, innovation and rehabilitation, but to also speak to the ‘pioneering users’ about the impact exoskeletons have on their lives.
One of the people demonstrating the REX and ReWalk.6 exoskeletons is Simon Kindleyside who, in April 2018, became the first paralysed man to walk the London Marathon route. Simon was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour in 2013, which left him paralysed from the waist down.
Dale Messenger will be demonstrating the Ekso. Dale was shot in military training in the Falkland Islands which resulted in him becoming a paraplegic. Here is a video of Dale’s incredible story.
Dale was represented by Stewarts, a law firm that acts for clients who have sustained serious life- changing injuries. One of their solicitors, Ben Rogers, wasthe first UK lawyer to secure landmark awards of compensation for the purchase and replacement of the REX and Ekso exoskeletons for his clients. Another solicitor at Stewarts, Daniel Herman, acts for a client who became the first person in Europe to secure damages to purchase the Indego exoskeleton.
The exoskeleton demonstration will take place on 13th June 2018, between 13.30 and 15.00.