A new mechanical aid developed at Tokushima University in Southern Japan is enabling paralysed people - normally confined to a wheelchair - to walk, using their own legs.
SV & CU patient has device fitted to artificial leg (2 shots)
SV Thigh-straps being fitted
CU & SV Patient ties up waist-band (2 shots)
SV & CU Waist-band bolted from behind (2 shots)
SCU TILT DOWN.. artificial limbs on patient
CU TILT DOWN.. motor being strapped to back
SV TILT UP.. electricity supply fitted to motor
CU ZOOM BACK TO SV.. patient walking on crutches (2 shots)
CU PAN..Patient pressing buttons on crutches
SV & CU Professor Yamada adjusts and watches operation (2 shots)
Initials ES. 1555 ES. 1620
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Background: A new mechanical aid developed at Tokushima University in Southern Japan is enabling paralysed people - normally confined to a wheelchair - to walk, using their own legs.
Designed by two university professors, the device consists of an electric motor which drives attachments to the hips, knees and feet sending the legs forward, and moving the knees and hips upwards for a rolling gait action. A strong belt laced around the patient's waist is the anchor for the other attachments.
The electric motor - which at present can only be operated by mains supply - straps on the patient's back.
At present, crutches are essential. Not only do they provide balance, but also at this stage they contain the main controls for the power system... that is, acceleration and braking.
In experiments so far, the forward movement has been limited to one-third of normal walking speeds. However, with a different gear box, the university professors say a faster walking speed is possible.
They also hope eventually to scrap the crutches by incorporating a small computer to provide automatic balance for the paralysed patient.
A major problem in the system at present is the excessive weight of the equipment - a problem which is still to be solved.