Reporting on the latest innovations impacting seniors

Sophisticated Exoskeletons Assist Elderly with Mobility


While it is still pricier than motorized wheelchairs, SuitX's Phoenix Exoskeleton is a life-changing product that is now available for the disabled. This $40,000 exoskeleton is only twenty-seven pounds and is custom fit to the body!  But why pay the price for such a product? 


The Phoenix exoskeleton works by returning movement to the wearer's hips and knees using small motors attached to standard orthotics. Its wearer can guide the movement of each leg and even walk faster by pushing buttons that are integrated into a pair of crutches. Compared to many other medical exoskeletons, the Phoenix is by far the cheapest and lightest, battery included. The battery is worn as a backpack and powers the exoskeleton for up to eight hours. An app can also be used to track the patient's walking information. 


While the initial purpose of the Phoenix exoskeleton was for children with neurological disorders, it can assist with a variety of mobility issues. This exoskeleton is unique in the aspect that it can adapt to, for example, a tall person who only needs assistance with one knee.  Or, the exoskeleton can even go as far as to assist someone who is paralyzed from the waist down. Walking or standing is an important exercise for disabled individuals in order to prevent sores or loss of mobility. This innovative invention can change that! 


A total of 14 studies (including 111 patients) have been conducted over the years. These training programs were usually held three times per week, 60-120 minutes each session for 1-24 weeks in total. A majority of the studies utilized simple indoor surfaces, while four of the studies included complex training. For example, navigating obstacles, climbing up and down the stairs, walking outside, and performing daily activities. 76% of patients were capable of performing these tasks with no physical assistance. The occurrence of a fall at any moment during training was 4.4%, none of which resulted in injury. 

Written by Senior Tech News journalist Haley Sanderson 2018