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31 Aug

The Exoskeleton, what is it?

The Exoskeleton, what is it?

                What would Franklin Delano Roosevelt say if he were alive to see exoskeletons working?

In 1921, Mr. Roosevelt almost lost his political career and his life to polio.  While he survived the disease, he lost the use of his legs for the remainder of his life.  When he won the 1932 presidential election, most Americans had no idea he was paralyzed from the waist down and they remained in the dark until his death in 1945. A friendly press wouldn’t photograph him being moved, or pushed in his wheel chair.  Newsreels would show the man “walking” with the aid of canes or his sons.  He wore heavy steel braces on his legs to keep them from collapsing under the weight of his body. Then, he would swing his hips to move the immobile legs forward. It gave people the perception that he could still walk.

                He spent the last 24 years of his life trying to bring those useless legs back to life.

                In 2014, ReWalk Personal System became the first FDA approved exoskeleton.

An exoskeleton is comprised of braces, a computer located in a back pack, and sensors that help a paraplegic walk.  The paralyzed person uses a walker or crutches in order to stay balanced. The computer is programmed with the person’s weight and height, his gate, and walking speed.  The ReWalk can cost $70,000.00.

The benefits can definitely outweigh the costs.  Actor Christopher Reeve, who became paralyzed after an accident, died of infections caused by bed sores.  Besides the physical benefits of getting a person up and moving again, there are also psychological benefits. Depression is often a major problem associated with paralysis, and those that have been using the ReWalk have shown improved attitudes.

Something tells me if FDR were alive today, he would be in Tampa working closely with paralyzed veterans learning to use the Esko Bionic Exoskeleton at James A. Haley VA, just as he had with fellow polio victims during his annual visits to Warm Springs, GA.



Mickey Lovingood is a Business Development Coordinator on our Healthcare Business Development Team. She has more than 15 years’ experience in customer relations and sales.

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