Stroke patients in the US will soon be able to utilize state-of-the-art robots in their recovery. The FDA has approved Wandercraft’s Atalante exoskeleton for use in stroke rehabilitation. This machine can help with intensive gait training, especially for people with limited upper body mobility who cannot use other methods.
The current generation of Atalante is a self-balancing, battery-powered device with an adjustable gait that can help from the early stages to a more natural gait later in treatment. Hands-free use allows patients to re-establish gait whether or not they can use their arms, although they still need to use the hardware in the clinical setting with the help of a therapist.
Wandercraft did not name its initial customers, but plans to ship the first exoskeleton to the US in the first quarter of this year. Although it has only recently launched a commercial operation in the country, financial backer Quadrant Management said Wandercraft could “expand significantly” the business in the next year or two.
FDA-approved exoskeletons are still relatively rare and limited to helping certain conditions. Last June, Ekso Bionics was licensed to market the EksoNR device for multiple sclerosis rehabilitation. Wandercraft’s approval makes the technology accessible to a wider range of patients and could be especially helpful when stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability in the United States. More than 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year. This may help some of them regain freedom of movement.
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