For the last few months, eight paralyzed volunteers have been gathering at a lab in Brazil to practice walking and kicking with the help of a robotic exoskeleton that is controlled by their thoughts. The volunteers wear a electroencephalographic (EEG) headset that records brainwave activity and a backpack computer that translates that mental activity into commands the mechanical suit can understand.
These photos were taken during training and show a volunteer entering the suit and practicing his walking and kicking with the help of engineers, scientists, and medical staff. They are wearing safety gear along with a special shirt with vibrating pads that sends signals back to the body about the position and weight of each foot.
During these trials one participant took over 130 steps. It's not clear yet exactly which volunteer will be the one to demonstrate the suit live in front of the whole world, but the team is confident that its brain-machine interface is ready for prime time. To learn more, check out our feature and video on the Walk Again Project.
Images courtesy of bigBonsai + LenteVivaFilmes.
- A wheelchair bound volunteer prepares for the exoskeleton.
- The empty exoskeleton awaiting volunteers.
- The vibrating shirt he wears look suspiciously like Iron Man's heart.
- Prof. Nicolelis speaks with a volunteer.
- A volunteer in the EEG headset prepares to enter the suit.
- Tightening the leg straps.
- Safety first!
- The backpack powers the walking and mental translation.
- A full body view of the exoskeleton.
- Paralyzed volunteers have taken over 100 steps.
- Practicing for the big kick to open the World Cup.