Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 16, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 22



Mountain Views-News Saturday, March 17, 2024 


Exoskeletons are like special wearable structures 
that help people move better. They act like frames on 
the outside of the body, supporting those who have 
trouble moving due to paralysis or limited mobility. 
These helpful devices come in different types, each 
made for specific needs and conditions, with various 
features to make movement easier.

The core drive behind developing exoskeletons is 
to improve the lives of people facing movement 
challenges. These devices offer external support, 
allowing users to lead more fulfilling lives by 
overcoming physical limitations. The main aim is to 
enhance accessibility, making exoskeletons available 
not only to those with movement challenges but also 
to individuals who may be at risk of injury due to 
repetitive movements. This broader accessibility 
ensures that a wider range of people can benefit from 
the advantages that exoskeletons bring to their daily 

Whether due to paralysis or other restrictions, 
exoskeletons offer a transformative solution to 
enhance mobility. Additionally, these devices play 
a crucial role in rehabilitation and physical therapy, 
aiding recovery and boosting the effectiveness of 
therapeutic interventions. But their use in preventing 
workplace injuries is gaining in popularity. In places 
where injuries are common, like factories or construction sites, people wear these special devices. 
The exoskeletons support their bodies and make it easier to do heavy or repetitive tasks. This way, 
workers are less likely to get hurt, and they can do their jobs more comfortably and safely for 
longer periods of time.

Exoskeletons come in a variety of types, each tailored to specific needs. Powered exoskeletons 
employ electric motors to facilitate joint movements, enhancing the wearer’s mobility. On the 
other hand, passive exoskeletons utilize mechanical structures and springs for support. The 
range of exoskeletons varies, with some covering the entire body to aid multiple joints, while 
others focus on either the upper body for tasks like lifting and reaching, or the lower body for 
standing, walking, and other lower body movements. Additionally, the materials used in crafting 
exoskeletons can range from rigid carbon fiber and metal to softer, lightweight materials that 
offer more comfortable support.

Exoskeletons find applications in medical facilities, where they assist individuals in clinical settings 
and hospitals. Beyond healthcare environments, there’s potential for integrating exoskeletons 
into daily life, allowing individuals to utilize these devices outside of medical contexts. The vision 
is to make exoskeletons an everyday tool, providing greater independence to users.

A study published on March 4 by the University of Massachusetts Amherst indicates that more 
than 80% of stroke survivors experience difficulty walking. In contrast to current rehabilitation 
strategies usings a robotic hip exoskeleton can be used to help people learn to walk properly again 
offering new rehab treatments for those with gait related issues.

As of today, exoskeletons have already found practical use across diverse industries, offering 
a multifaceted solution to enhance worker safety, alleviate muscular strain, and boost overall 
productivity. These innovative devices prove invaluable in physically demanding professions 
like construction, manufacturing, the military, and mining, where they assist workers in tasks 
involving heavy lifting and repetitive movements. Additionally, exoskeletons play a crucial role 
in reducing the risk of injuries for those required to maintain specific postures over prolonged 
periods. Furthermore, healthcare and rehabilitation sectors leverage exoskeleton technology to 
aid patients in relearning movement patterns, exemplified in scenarios such as supporting stroke 
survivors on their journey to recovery.

Individuals with mobility impairments due to conditions like spinal cord injuries, paralysis, or 
neuromuscular disorders may already have access to exoskeletons for home use. However, the 
process often involves a thorough assessment by healthcare professionals, specialized training for 
users, and collaboration with insurance providers to cover the costs.

It’s important to consult with medical professionals and rehabilitation specialists to determine 
the suitability of an exoskeleton for home use, as well as to navigate the practical and financial 
aspects. Technology in this field continues to evolve, so it’s recommended to check for the latest 
advancements and availability in your region.

This is good news for all of us. As exoskeleton technology continues to advance, those who develop 
mobility limitations in later life will have help. Perhaps the materials can be lightweight and small 
enough to be incorporated into active wear. Allowing people to continue to move their entire lives 
according to their own abilities can help keep the rest of the body and mind in shape. Over the 
long term. The possibilities are certainly exciting.

Michele Silence, M.A. is a 37-year certified fitness 

professional who offers semi-private/virtual fitness 
classes. Contact Michele at michele@kid-fit.
com. Visit her Facebook page at: michelesfitness 
Visit her Facebook page at: michelesfitness.

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