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CNET News Video: Robotics help the paralyzed walk
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CNET News Video: Robotics help the paralyzed walk

2:29 /

A demonstration day at Kaiser Permanente has demos of robotic legs for those who can't walk, arms for those who can't lift, and forceps for surgeons who can't be in the operating room.

-Hi, this is Rafe Needleman from CNET in Oakland at the Kaiser Permanente Garfield Center for Innovation where a bunch of Kaiser Permanente physicians and healthcare professionals have gathered together to look at the latest innovations that Kaiser is bringing to the world of robotics and medicine. -We are Berkeley Bionics and our product name is eLEGS and eLEGS is a exoskeleton device that allows people with gait disorders, and particularly spinal injuries, to be able to come out of the wheelchair, come to a standing position and to walk. Ted Kilroy was injured in a motorcycle accident about 5 years ago and he's a complete paraplegic. -How does it know when he wants to walk? -You know, that's a really interesting question. The way in which we read Ted's intent is by actually using the crutches that he's using. The left crutch tip would instigate a right step and vice versa for the right tip, and we also sense his posture. We know that through the position of his legs and also the position of his arms, and when he's in a safe configuration, he can actually begin to actuate a step and he can take a step with one and then take a step with another. -This is a robotic arm that's meant to help the upper body mobility so the wheelchair is for lower body and that is for the upper body so you can gain full autonomy. We're talking about users that cannot drink a glass of water, that cannot feed themselves, that cannot open doors, so with Jackal, we use the same control on the wheelchair that already exists, whether it's a chin control, it's a mini-joystick, or a normal joystick, we use the same control to add upper body option. -What we have behind me here is what we call the M7 robot. The goal of this system was to provide trauma care on the battlefield to an injured soldier. Out of this technology grew the technologies that are now commercially available in the creative surgical intervention system. The Da Vinci is currently used primarily for prostate surgery as the number one application. There's several thousand Da Vincis now out there doing many thousand surgeries every year. The Da Vinci provides the high degree of dexterity that would generally be lost in moving from open surgery to laparoscopic surgeries. -So the operator here has full, can see in stereo and has full tactile feedback? -Yes. Tactile feedback, has touch feedback as well so they can feel the roughness of textures, they can feel the pressure with which they're pushing on the patient. Some of our technologies can even feel a pulse.

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