A year in robotic legs – starting the analysis

This time last year I took my first few faltering steps in a revolutionary new set of robotic legs from ekso bionics.

I wrote a blog the day after that first experience and said: “I was scared. Not of the walking or chances of falling. Rather I was scared that my blindness would stop me from being part of something that I believe is one of my best chances of walking again.”

Twleve months on, the blindness and paralysis remain but the fear has gone. Today, I completed 2196 steps in 60 minutes. And the encouraging thing is that I’m disappointed that I didn’t make it to 2,200 steps. I’m not scared anymore, just keen to continue exploring the boundaries of what is possible.

My South Pole team-mate, Simon, is now my lead trainer and we are setting and beating our goals. I’m walking faster and further in less and less time. It feels easier and I hope it looks more like normal walking.

You be the judge – here’s the most recent video of me walking.

We’re making progress and as part of my training we’re recording everything that I do during each session. The machine captures data – the number of steps, walk time, stand time, the temperature of motors at my hips and knees – which is transfered back to the factory in San Francisco in real time via a wireless connection. The physio from ekso bionics europe travels to visit us to carry out a series of standard tests each month.

All of this is designed to improve the system and understand the impact that walking has on the body and mind of a paralysed person. From a personal perspective I’ve noticed two big positives with ekso. I just feel better every time i walk and that psychological lift is positive in itself. Physically there is a clear impact. After each session the small spasms that I get in my legs disappear and the dull pain in my back lifts.

In short, I feel both mentally and physically better after walking every time. I now need a few scientists to tell me what is happening inside my body. Anyone interested?!


2 Responses to “A year in robotic legs – starting the analysis”

  1. 1 peter February 7, 2013 at 12:59 am

    Obviously, there is no stopping you Mark ! Go on ya good thing !!

  2. 2 John Daly March 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Meant to get back ages ago. Sorry for the delay!

    I’m delighted to see you making such great progress with those fantastic “new legs”, but what’s far more impressive is the terrific indomitable spirit that’s powering them! Well done! You’re truly an example to us all.
    I wish you lots more success in your recovery!
    Best regards,
    John Daly, Dublin.

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