It certainly sucks being stuck in a wheelchair, but it’s just as certain that new medical and rehabilitation devices will help many get up on their feet. Though existing exoskeletons are not yet practical enough for daily use, they clearly benefit their patients psychologically by simply letting them stand on their own feet. A new product gives this benefit to wheelchair-bound kids without costing tens of thousands of dollars.
The Upsee pairs the child’s feet with the adults’ while providing vertical support kind of like a Baby Bjorn. The adult essentially acts as the exoskeleton, keeping the kid upright while providing locomotion. It’s scheduled to be released in about a week.
From the product page:
It is a revelation for many kids with neuromuscular disorders. Some have been able to stand and hug their little brother or sister for the first time. Some have waved at neighbours on their first ever walk along their own street. And some crossed the playground hand-in-hand with their best friend for the very first time.
They are just little steps – but they mean the world to someone.
Leading therapists endorse Upsee because it creates so many possibilities. It makes play and participation possible right now. And when your child is motivated to explore and move and weight-bear, it creates a real possibility for long-term development.
Here’s a promo video from Firefly, a Northern Ireland firm that developed the Upsee, showing off how it benefits children and interviewing parents that have been using one with their kid.
Product page: Upsee…
(hat tip: Gizmodo)