Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care

151 West Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45216 | (513) 418-2500

Ekso™ Frequently Asked Questions

Ekso Bionics

What is Ekso™?

Ekso™ is a wearable robot or exoskeleton that enables people with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness to stand and walk. It is a ready-to-wear, battery-powered, bionic device that is strapped over the user’s clothing.

How does it work?

With the patient wearing the exoskeleton and providing the balance and proper body positioning, Ekso allows them to walk over ground with reciprocal gait. The physical therapist uses the control pad to program the desired walking parameters, such as step length and speed, as well as control when the Ekso stands, sits, and takes a step. It is powered by two high-capacity lithium batteries which drive the hip and knee motors.

How much does the device weigh?

The device weighs approximately 50 pounds (23 kg). The user doesn’t support the weight of the device as it is transferred into the ground through the Ekso structure.

How is a patient evaluated to use Ekso?

In order to be eligible for Ekso, a patient needs to bring a medical release. Then, a comprehensive physical evaluation is conducted, which typically takes one hour. During this evaluation, our physical therapist examines key requirements for use including range of motion, muscle strength and spasticity.

How long does it take to fit Ekso after initial evaluation?

The fitting of a user and the adjustment of Ekso typically takes 10 minutes. Ekso can be adjusted to fit most people between 5’2” and 6’2” who weigh 220 pounds or less.

How fast can a user put on and take off Ekso?

An experienced user can transfer to/from their wheelchair and put on or take off the Ekso in less than 5 minutes. The torso and leg straps are designed to enable the user to easily get in and out of the device with minimal or no assistance.

Who is it for?

Ekso is for people with lower-extremity paralysis or weakness who would like assistance to stand up and walk. Users need arm function and adequate upper extremity strength to manage crutches or a walker as determined during the evaluation. If you can transfer independently from a wheelchair to a chair, are between 5’2” – 6’2” (150-190 cm) tall and weigh 220 lbs (100 kg) or less, you are most likely a candidate.

How fast can someone walk in it?

The walking speed of Ekso depends on a patient’s aptitude and condition. Ekso allows walking speeds up to 1 mph.

Will users always need a walker? When can they use crutches?

All users complete a training program when learning to use Ekso. The learning curve is quite user specific and can depend on many factors. Usually, individuals begin using a walker and progress to crutches.

How does the physical therapist assist a user?

The physical therapist (PT) operates the Ekso with a remote control. This allows the PT to teach the patient when to take a step, how to position their body for proper balance, and how to shift their weight in preparation to take another step. The PT also has the ability to modify Ekso’s walking pattern (i.e. step speed and length) as the patient progresses.

How can someone try it? Where is it available?

Ekso is available as an outpatient therapy at Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care’s main campus, 151 West Galbraith Road in Cincinnati, OH. To find out more about whether you qualify for Ekso, or to schedule an appointment, please call 513-418-2409.

When can I purchase a version to take home?

Ekso Bionics (Richmond, California), the manufacturer of Ekso, plans to launch a personal version in early 2014.