Printed Exoskelton Helps Woman Walk
Kyle Maxey posted on February 21, 2014 |
3D printing helps Amanda Boxtel walk after 22 years of paralysis.

3d printing, exoskeleton, 3d systems, robot, medicine

At the Singularity University in Budapest, Hungary a 3D printed, personalized exoskeleton has been debuted.  Amanda Boxtel used it to walk for the first time in 22 years.

Over past decade a ton of money and engineering have gone into the development of mechanical exoskeletons. While we most often think of them in a role of augmenting the strength of workers and soldiers, a third class of exoskeletons is being developed to aid the handicapped.

ENGINEERING.com will be recording a video interview with Amanda at the USA Science & Engineering Festival in Washington DC in April.  Here’s why we are excited to share her story. 

On February 27, 1992 Amanda was skiing in Aspen, CO when she fell, sending her body into a devastating somersault. At a local hospital Amanda was told that she was paralyzed from the waist down.  She would never walk again.

Rather than giving up, Amanda started working with California-based Ekso-Bionics, a robotic exoskeleton company. Amanda’s body was scanned, and 3D printed components were added to the company’s standard Ekso-Suit to create a fit that would be comfortable to wear.

“After years of dreaming about it, I am deeply grateful and thrilled to be making history by walking tall in the first ever 3D printed Ekso-Suit, made specifically for me,” said Amanda Boxtel.

While the exoskeleton that Amanda uses does require her to use two canes to keep her balance, the simple fact that she can take any steps at all is truly amazing. In the future more advanced exoskeletons may give patients like Amanda the ability to walk, run and traverse rough terrain as if nothing had ever happened.

Image Courtesy of 3D Systems


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