Chances are if you or someone you know is paralyzed from the waist down, you have probably heard a doctor’s prognosis that walking will never again be an option.
You purchase a wheelchair, one of our wheelchair accessible vans, and either move or convert your home into one that’s handicap accessible.
However, some people just do not accept that as an option for them and they strive to regain mobility in whatever way they can. One of those people is Amanda Boxtel.
Amanda Boxtel was paralyzed from the waist down after a skiing accident in Aspen, Colorado in 1992. Despite her paralysis, she dreamed of someday being able to walk again.
This past February, almost exactly 22 years after her accident, Amanda was able to prove doctors wrong and walk again at an event in Budapest.
She was able to do this with the assistance of a 3D printed exoskeleton.
The 3D Printed Exoskeleton
Amanda’s 3D printed exoskeleton was custom created and fitted specifically for her body. The suit consisted of leg pieces created by a company called 3D Systems that strap to her legs with the use of Velcro straps, and a set of mechanical actuators and controls made by EksoBionics.
The two pieces combined, plus a set of canes, allowed Amanda to climb out of her wheelchair and take her first steps in over two decades.
While this suit took more than three months to print to perfection, in a way that would not leave Amanda bruised and still allow her skin to breathe and prevent too much sweating, the companies are hoping to be able to enhance the process for the future.
What do you think of this invention? If it was available for consumers to purchase or try, would you take advantage of it? Why or why not?