Tech

How robots are replacing wheelchairs to help people with disabilities walk again

VIDEO13:1813:18
How robots are helping people with disabilities walk again

Four-year-old Luz d'Luna Caro Quinteros-Pitts had only known life in a wheelchair until last summer, when her mom brought home a robotic gait-training device called Trexo.

"I never ever thought in a million years that robots would be part of my life," said Caro Quinteros-Pitts. "It was like in a month we just saw that from crying and screaming and being uncomfortable in her body to now just being very content and just comfortable."

Another robotic mobility solution is being designed by a group at Caltech, led by Aaron Ames. Exoskeletons are essentially walking robots which people can be strapped into. Although they can currently cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ames says they're at a tipping point that could allow production volumes that would bring costs down.

"We have the math. We have the science. We have the technology to get exoskeletons and other assisted devices into people's homes in the near term," Ames said.

Watch the video to find out why wheelchairs are still the primary solution for people with mobility challenges, and see the robots that could finally disrupt the space.