DOD RT Exo Project

Evaluating the Utilization and Efficiency of Wearable Exoskeletons for Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Posted By Allison Peipert

Project Goal:


The goal of this project is to acquire information that will guide evaluation strategies, training strategies, and clinical decision plans to enable the safe and effective use of robotic exoskeletons to enhance mobility in patients with Spinal Cord Injury.

Project Aims:


  1. Describe the interest in, perceived need for, and expected outcomes of robotic exoskeletons of persons who have not received this therapy.
  2. Describe the perceived benefits, limitations, and costs of robotic exoskeletons among persons with spinal cord injury who received this therapy during spinal cord injury rehabilitation or in the community, and compare their perspectives with persons who have no robotic exoskeleton experience.
  3. Describe physical therapists’ experiences, clinical evaluation and training strategies using robotic exoskeleton therapy in rehabilitation and community settings.

How will we achieve these aims?


Approximately 130 participants will be recruited for an initial Environment Scan Survey. Those who indicate that we may contact for additional research will enter into a pool of participants from which 90-120 minute focus groups will be conducted with persons with SCI and rehabilitation professionals. Focus groups will take place across four sites: Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, Shepherd Center, and Kessler Foundation. These focus groups will provide more information into patient and clinician experiences and opinions, identify perceived benefits and risks of exoskeleton use, and clinician and patient suggestions for changes to hardware and software.

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