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Cerebral palsy, strokes, traumatic brain and spine injuries, all of these are examples of conditions that may affect mobility and the way in which we walk. One of the technological inventions aimed at people with limited mobility is bionic leg wrap that uses electric pulses and artificial intelligence to correct muscle movements.
This bionic leg wrap, called the Neural Sleeve, is designed to be wrapped around the leg and uses functional electrical stimulation (FES) to help with the walking difficulties that can be caused by multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and strokes. The sleeve consists of a lightweight fabric that wraps around the user’s leg, holding a series of electrodes in place above the muscles. A receptor module, tucked away in an integrated pocket on the thigh, picks up information on the user’s gait pattern and transfers this to the electrodes, which stimulate the muscles to elicit micro-corrections in their movement. Sophisticated sensors continuously monitor movement in real-time to evaluate muscle firing and limb position and personalized algorithms deliver functional electrical stimulation to activate the necessary muscles precisely coordinated to the walk cycle. The whole process is managed by an app, allowing the user a degree of control over the process.
“What the algorithms do and what the electrodes do is they deliver that right sequence. And when the brain has relearned and re-acquired the knowledge of how to fire those muscles, the sleeve is not needed anymore.” Said representatives of the Cionic startup company, developers of the Neural Sleeve.
“Building bionic clothing that can augment human movement takes a thoughtful and holistic approach,” said the company’s founder Jeremiah Robison, who developed the product after witnessing the walking difficulties his daughter experienced due to cerebral palsy. “It starts with advanced technology capable of adapting to each user’s mobility needs to deliver meaningful outcomes.”
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