June 5, 2013
TWO years ago, Antonio Melillo was in a car crash that completely severed his spinal cord. He has not been able to move or feel his legs since. And yet here I am, in a lab at the Santa Lucia Foundation hospital in Rome, Italy, watching him walk.
Melillo is one of the first people with lower limb paralysis to try out MindWalkerâ€¯â€“ the world’s first exoskeleton that aims to enable paralysed and locked-in people to walk using only their mind.
Five people have been involved in the clinical trial of MindWalker over the past eight weeks. The trial culminates this week with a review by the European Commission, which funded the work; the project has been carried out by a consortium of several major universities and companies.