Mark Pollock thought he would never walk again, but then he met a team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles who thought otherwise.
A paralyzed Irish man has walked for the first time in five years with the help of an amazing new robotic exoskeleton. According to a report from CNET, doctors were able to attach Mark Pollock’s robotic exoskeleton to a spinal stimulation unit. The result? Pollock began walking using his own muscles again.
Pollock lost his sight in 1998, and began to compete in cross-country running competitions. He was the first blind man to ever race to the South Pole, and won events at the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Rowing Championships.
In 2010, Pollock took a nasty fall from a second-story window. The fall broke his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and unable to walk.
After being paralyzed for nearly four years, Pollock began to visit a team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles to test out a system that could enable him to walk again one day. Pollock received five days of training with the system, and took thousands of steps over the next two weeks.
The research surrounding Pollock’s recovery was published by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, and represent the first time a paralysis victim was able to walk again using his own muscles.
The system contains a battery-powered exoskeleton and a non-invasive spinal stimulation control. Spinal stimulation was previously shown to return muscle control to paralysis victims, but the exoskeleton allowed Pollock to put enough of his weight down to begin walking.
You can watch Pollock take his revolutionary first steps here: