World Champion thanks to Rex
On Wed 1st April 2015 Rob became only the second person who is on a ventilator to actually walk in the exoskeleton Rex. Not only that but he walked the furthest distance ever done by someone with such a high level neck injury.Not knowing quite what to expect when Rex arrived the day turned out to exceed all expectations in terms of the ease of getting strapped in Rex, the walk, the shuffle sideways and also the reverse. It allowed Rob to think about what new opportunities may lie ahead as research continues at a pace.
Rex was brought along by the Clinical Director of Physiofunction based in Northamptonshire curled up in the boot of his car. Lots of talk about how Rex works and its potential benefits and pitfalls (which were only skin sore worries really) before measurements were taken, adjustments made to Rex and then Rob was hoisted from his chair into place. With the straps on and with his ventilator hanging over the arm rest it was time to stand. All the practice standing in his chair paid off as Rob had no blood pressure problems whilst going from the sitting position to upright. A few testing shuffles and leg lifts before setting off across his bedroom with people either side to give gentle support. Whilst the joystick control was done by the physio the future lies in brainwave control and it is not too difficult to imagine the specific balance correction controls that will be possible in the future. Here’s a Video Clip of Rob and Rex in action.
The next phase of assessment and investigation into how this may work for Rob will require him to go to Northampton for week long residential sessions with Physiofunction – something for the summer holidays. There are many physiological benefits for Rob in moving in the standing position along with the positive effect mentally – Rob always loved a challenge.
The rest of the day was taken up with a care meeting and then a visit from Rob’s regular physio followed
by a relaxing “stand with mother” (and the dog Rosie).