A few weeks ago I posted information on Cyberdine’s device HAL (the Hybrid Assistive Limb), which is being used in Seattle at Swedish Medical Center. Thank you to Yoshi, who brought to my attention that the Brooks Cybernic Treatment Center in Jacksonville, FL uses HAL technology (click here to watch a short video on HAL in action there), and who also provided a helpful link to a more in-depth article about HAL. In my mind, one of the greatest points about the device is something also noted by the article’s author, Elliot Gardner: “[T]he end-goal of HAL is that the technology is not needed at all — the aim for treatment is for there to be an increase in patients’ function without wearing the HAL exoskeleton, rather than having to rely on it.”
I'm legitimately excited to learn about this technology as it is developing and am pleased to see that is is becoming more available. It represents a welcome attitude toward what can be accomplished after SCIs. We’re not talking about a simple list of outcomes or limitations for what life “will be” post-SCI. Instead, this is about improvement and challenging expectations. Gardner’s explanation of the end-goal for HAL shows how the device is particularly geared in this direction.
And that is indeed a huge stride forward for rehabilitation after spinal cord injuries.