Yes, its true.. Patented technology developed by NASA for sounding rockets and robotic enhancement is currently being used to help returning US soldiers with spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries. Secure Ambulation Mode (SAM), as it is called, is a new physical therapy device based on technology that was originally developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Here’s more from NASA:
The late James Kerley created and patented the technology, consisting of short segments of flexible cable that connect to hardware, all of which allows joint-like, multidirectional movement and shock absorption. Allen Crane and Wayne Eklund teamed with Kerley in the 1990s to incorporate this “cable-compliant” system into a patented walker that supported the pelvis and imitated hip joint movement, which ultimately alleviated pain to injured patients by reducing the amount of weight placed on the legs.
In 2003, Enduro Medical Technologies, East Hartford, Conn., licensed these patented NASA technologies and modified the cable-compliant system into an advanced walker with a flexible harness that embraces the lower torso.
According to Messier, one active military patient at Walter Reed who was wheelchair-bound for two years due to a spinal cord injury is now up and walking with SAM. “When we first put him in the walker, he was up and going for 25 minutes,” explained Messier. “He’s now walking for up to 25 minutes every day and even using SAM to perform exercises to strengthen his leg muscles.”
The SAM walker, born by way of NASA’s technology transfer program, also gives patients with degenerative conditions like severe arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s Disease an opportunity to safely extend their mobility.
More from NASA…