The Indego skeleton which has been approved in Europe since November 2015 has now been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The Indego Exoskeleton which was designed by a team of researchers at Vanderbilt University will be the second exoskeleton to be approved in the United States for clinical and personal use. The Exoskeleton will help victims of paralysis who are crippled from the waist down to make use of their paralyzed organs.
“You can think of our exoskeleton as a Segway with legs,” explained Michael Goldfarb, Professor of mechanical engineering who led the project, in a statement.
“If the person wearing it leans forward, he moves forward. If he leans back and holds that position for a few seconds, he sits down. When he is sitting down, if he leans forward and holds that position for a few seconds, then he stands up.”
Powered by rechargeable batteries, the exoskeleton is a firm attachment that fits around the user’s legs, with powered joints at the hip and knee. It also features a belt girded around the torso to keep it secure, and crutches to help the patient keep their balance.
When Indego began 10 years ago, it was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. However in 2012, Parker Hannifin which is a motion and control technology company bought an exclusive license to market the Indego design.
The Indego which will cost $80,000 per unit operates at the wearer’s movement capability. Wearers who have full paralysis will have the Indego working at full power, while those with partial paralysis will get less assistance. The Indego is also known to reduce paraplegia by giving off electrical pulses which help muscles contract and expand.
Concerning the FDA approval, Tom Williams, chairman and CEO of Parker Hannifin said;
“For individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries, this is a milestone that could have a meaningful impact on their lives,
“In a relatively short amount of time, we have taken what was a prototype device and readied it for full commercial launch. We are excited about the future for this new growth opportunity.”