Walkbot (P&S Mechanics)

The Walkbot can be used to rehabilitate patients with a wide variety of conditions, including amputation, osteoarthritis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and sports injuries. P&S Mechanics, the company behind the Walkbot, has also developed a version for pediatric care that is designed to strengthen the leg muscles and improve the leg joints' range of motion.

The Walkbot isn't the only exoskeleton robot designed specifically for gait training rehab, but it is amongst the first to be commercialized. According to the creators of the LOPES (LOwer-extremity Powered ExoSkeleton), which has been in development since the turn of the millennium at the University of Twente, robotic gait training will likely become the norm.

"Regaining walking ability is one of the major goals during rehabilitation after stroke, as this ability greatly determines the level of socio/economic participation and the overall physical health of patients," they stated. "There is growing scientific evidence that task specific and intensive training of actively performed movements results in the largest functional improvement. Yet, routine application of such training faces some serious problems. Providing intensive task-specific training is very labor-intensive and puts therapists at risk of injury. The aging of the population will aggravate this situation, as it results in an increase in the number of patients. At the same time a decrease in the number of available therapists is expected. By using robotic devices to provide the patient with the required support, these problems can be circumvented."