Paralyzed Man Walks With Mind-Controlled Robot Exoskeleton

June 4, 2013 | Andy Cush

In the video above, Antonio Melillo, who has been paralyzed from the waist down for two years, can be seen walking. He moves slowly, holding two handrails for support, and he has several people spotting him, making sure he doesn’t stumble along the way–but still, there he is, walking.

Melillo is being assisted by a Mindwalker, a motorized exoskeleton he can control with his brain. According to New Scientist, the device was having problems at the time the video was recorded, so Melillo was using a secondary control method, which allows him to move his legs by rotating his torso.

Some background: the Mindwalker project began three years ago, with the help of funding from the European Commission, and the team behind it hopes to continue refining it for the next five years, with the aim of eventually putting a product on the market.

“We’re going to make it more lightweight and smooth out the movements,” says Jeremi Gancet, a deputy coordinator working on Mindwalker, “and possibly even incorporate it all into a pair of pants to make it a little less Robocop.”