Bionic Suits

bionicA new rehabilitation program using motorized exoskeletons, also known as bionic suits, will begin in July at Montecatone Hospital in Imola, which is currently treating about 250 patients with spinal cord injuries.

The American-produced Ekso-Gt exoskeletons, which are like motorized tutors and cost about 200,000 euro each, will be funded by the Imola Credit Union Foundation and Montecatone non-profit.

The use of these suits will bring Montecatone Hospital into the sphere of some of the most sophisticated rehabilitative centers for spinal cord injuries in Italy, including Niguarda Hospital in Milan and San Raffaele Pisana in Rome.

The hospital’s spinal unit director Dr. Jacopo Bonavita said the suits are not supposed to take the place of wheelchairs, but rather, “try to make up for a partial deficiency of the lower limbs with the goal of achieving a functional walk.” That being the case, the suits will be primarily beneficial for patients with incomplete spinal injuries, who number about 80,000 overall throughout Italy.



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