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Medicine Technology

Paralyzed Woman Walks Again With 3D-Printed Robotic Exoskeleton 41

Zothecula writes "3D Systems, in collaboration with Ekso Bionics, has created a 3D-printed robotic exoskeleton that has restored the ability to walk in a woman paralyzed from the waist down. The Ekso-Suit was trialled and demonstrated by Amanda Boxtel, who was told by her doctor that she'd never walk again after a skiing accident in 1992. 'Designers from 3D Systems scanned her body, digitizing the contours of her spine, thighs, and shins, a process that helped them mold the robotic suit to her. Then they combined the suit with a set of mechanical actuators and controls made by EksoBionics. ... One problem that the designers faced in this case was that a paralyzed person like Boxtel often can't know that bruising is happening because she can't feel it. That's dangerous, Summit said, because undetected bruises or abrasions can become infected. "So we had to be very careful with creating geometry that would dodge the parts of the body that it had to dodge...[designing] parts that wouldn't impede circulation or cause bruising."'"
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Paralyzed Woman Walks Again With 3D-Printed Robotic Exoskeleton

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  • by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Wednesday February 19, 2014 @07:30PM (#46291037)

    So as luck would have it, I'm one of those unlucky individuals for whom several vertebrae are deteriorating and/or growing bone spurs as I get older.

    On thing that's surprised me is that it's not very common for surgeons to simply replace natural, deteriorating vertebrae with custom-shaped artificial ones. I don't know if it's because the surgery would be too complicated, or what.

    But given all the problems for which 3D printing seems to be a solution, I'm hoping that it will hasten a fix for my back issues.

"So why don't you make like a tree, and get outta here." -- Biff in "Back to the Future"