Friday, March 10, 2017
Robotic legs: Dermoskeleton technology aims to help B.C.'s disabled
Scott Cunningham, a reporter for the Vancouver Island CTV News, wrote the following article on Paul Lazenby's adventure test-driving the Keeogo. The video and Paul's comments on his experience can be found in my post earlier this week. The potential the Keeogo has to revolutionize mobility for those living with a disability has me more excited than I have been in quite a while.
It was designed for the military and featured in the movies. Now, a futuristic robotic skeleton could help B.C.’s disabled community. The wearable technology, which looks like something out of the Robocop movies, arrived in the province in January. Designed by a Quebec-based company, the Keeogo device is an assistive walking machine aimed at helping people with mobility issues.
Targeted at people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and other neuromuscular issues, a new high-tech device is giving people like Duncan man Paul Lazenby their legs back. Suffering from Kennedy’s disease, Duncan man Ken Lazenby is slowly losing control of some muscle movement and is happy to be a trial patient for the new technology. March 8, 2017.
“We can see people continue to be active, healthy, exercise and rehabilitate,” said mobility device distributer Graham Plant. “Maybe they can get away from having to use a cane or a wheelchair.”
“It’s fun not to have to think about it,” said Lazenby, as he scaled a flight of stairs that would normally exhaust him. Suffering from Kennedy’s disease, the Duncan resident is slowly losing control of some muscle movement and is happy to be a trial patient for the new technology.
“What things like this offer is hope. Hope for young people who have neuromuscular diseases that they can move freely if they keep what strength they have left,” he said.
Priced at around $50,000, the futuristic mobility tools don’t come cheap. Because they’re so new, most insurance providers have yet to research them thoroughly.
WorkSafe BC says it is not aware of requests for Keeogo devices, but it is open to investigating anything that could help clients.
The robotic walking aids are a class one medical device, meaning they could be covered by insurance, much like a wheelchair. To date, the company HME Mobility and Accessibility, which is distributing the product in B.C., has yet to sell a unit but is in the midst of several patient trials.