With its’ doors just barley opened the new Central Peninsula Rehabilitation and Kenai Spine location introduced a state of the art Robotic Exoskeleton demonstration last Wednesday.
Those who attended the demonstration and presentation by The Ekso Group, saw for the first time a live demonstration of the robotic exoskeleton suit in front of the new Central Peninsula Rehabilitation and Kenai Spine location in the River Tower on the Central Peninsula Hospital campus. The two clinics are co-located on the first floor of the new facility. “The use of robotics is one of the hottest areas for future advances and growth in the rehabilitation industry. This type of technology will redefine the potential for recovery of mobility and function following stroke, spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions,” Matt Cuellar, Regional sales manager for Ekso Bionics, told the Dispatch in an interview. “The Ekso GT is a robotic suit that allows patients that have maybe suffered a spinal cord injury, brain injury or stroke, it gives them the ability to get up right and to walk again, while building up endurance and strength of what power is remaining after the injury. There are tremendous psychological benefits as well that come from being up right and being able to walk again, it’s really remarkable.” In theory the device might someday replace a wheelchair, “We’re still in the infancy stages of development of exoskeletons in general, but I can see in the future this device as something that can be used in the home allowing people to do all sorts of daily activity that they might not be able to do now,” said Cuellar.
The specific product demonstrated at Kenai Spine is for clinical use only in physical therapy and rehab departments of hospitals and rehab centers nationwide and around the world. “We were excited to be here just a few days after the opening of this new clinic not only to experience the facility but to introduce such amazing and somewhat futuristic technology to the Kenai Peninsula,” he said. The current model of the Ekso GT is the second generation of the product that was introduced just four years ago according to Cuellar and currently worldwide there are about 150 centers where they are in use, “We are expanding and the best part of the job is to work with people that have either been told or told themselves that they will never be able to walk again or have a basic function and to be able to provide a technology that provides that is truly a joy and satisfaction at the end of the day to look in the mirror and know that you are part of the technology that is making that happen,” said Cuellar. The approximate cost of the Ekso GT is $180,000. To see the robotic exoskeleton in action, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q3DOLk_JxY or log on to their website at eksobionics.com.