A research team at the Santa Lucia Foundation in Italy is working on a way to restore the ability to walk to those paralysed from the waist down, according to New Scientist.
To hold the person up and propel them forward, the team created an exoskeleton – a set of metal supports and motors that balances and moves their weight in a way that mimics a human’s bones and muscles.
Users of the exoskeleton currently have two methods of control. The first is a set of sensors that lay within the peripheral vision of the wearer. By shifting focus to the left for a fraction of a second, the legs walk forward. By looking to the right, they stop.
The other method is much more natural. By leaning to one side, the other leg takes a step forward – much as one walks by stepping with his right foot and swinging his left arm.
This isn’t the first exoskeleton to help paraplegics. Other companies, like Ekso Bionics, already have similar products on the market.
But the Santa Lucia’s is promising because it can be controlled simply by moving the eyes.
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