Medical Exoskeletons: Making the World More Accessible

Ever heard of medical exoskeletons? These are specialized, highly customizable pieces of equipment designed to treat mobility-related issues. The sheer amount of choice is staggering, and most folks have a hard time determining which type of exoskeleton is best suited for their needs. Today, let’s go over the basics of medical exoskeletons to help you come to a more informed decision.

Main Purposes of Medical Exoskeletons

First off, there are two basic types of exoskeletons in the healthcare field: Rehabilitation and augmentation variants, respectively. Rehabilitation devices are designed under the pretense that the user will be able to recover from their mobility issues, meaning they can be installed and removed more easily. Augmentative alternatives are meant for those who won’t be able to recover and will need to rely on the exoskeleton for the rest of their lives, even after undergoing rehabilitation. Powered by batteries, they log every movement made to provide caregivers with data relevant to improving the patient’s experience and, if possible, helping them recover more effectively.

Mobility and Control Types

There are also different versions of medical exoskeletons available should you wish for a static or mobile version. These are known as stationary and tethered variants, respectively. Depending on whether you need to move around or remain in a rigid position for recovery purposes, the costs and dependence on battery power will vary between them. It also affects how complex the overall design of the exoskeleton is.

Control Variants

There are even different ways to operate medical exoskeletons, and these can also affect the price and overall design complexity depending on which you use. Pre-programmed versions are the easiest to implement as they perform pre-set motions. Others wait for specific steps to be followed before performing the assigned movements, such as waiting for the weight of the wearer to shift in a certain way. Then, there are exoskeletons that actually read the signals sent from your nerves to perform appropriate movements – sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, doesn’t it?

Different Body Positions

Upper body medical exoskeletons are meant to assist with arm or hand-based movements, such as grabbing objects or lifting things. Lower body variants are intended for legs, feet, hips, and subsequent joints in these areas. Some medical exoskeletons used to be designed to target both areas but, for various reasons, there aren’t many of them being made nowadays.

There are different categories, price points, focuses on specific areas of the body, forms of mobility support and control types to consider when making your selection. To aid in your decision-making, contact us at Qualicare Waterloo today to get in touch with an expert!

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