Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday that exoskeletons, which allow patients suffering from brain or spinal cord injuries to learn to walk again, will be deployed in every department from July.
“We made the decision (..) to have at least two per department. Funding (from the state, editor’s note) has already been identified and will be rolled out from July,” the president, accompanied by his wife, told four ministers while visiting the Station Debout walking center, which has a replica of this equipment in Paris.
It is a robot that wraps around the legs, pelvis and thorax and helps the paraplegic to reproduce walking movements without a cane or crutch.
The head of state attended a demonstration of an exoskeleton on a 22-year-old soldier of the 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment Tarbes, who suffered from paralysis of the lower extremities after he was blown up by a mine in Mali.
Initially, the equipment will be deployed in departmental treatment and rehabilitation centers (MCRs), with a view to eventually extending its use to outpatient care.
It will also be deployed as part of the Armed Forces Health Service, which currently has only one copy in its functional rehabilitation structure at the Les Invalides, Emmanuel Macron said.
Vandercraft, a French aspiring designer of the model presented to the president, has a factory project to be funded by the France 2030 plan.
President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron attend a rowing machine demonstration at the Station Debout Walking Center on January 26, 2023 in Paris (POOL/AFP – Yoan VALAT)
Emmanuel Macron was also presented with a rowing machine, which allows, thanks to electrical stimulation, to restore muscle abilities, in particular, after accidents, as well as a treadmill in virtual reality.
Professor Pierre-Francois Prada, President of the Institute for Spinal and Brain Research (IRME), applied for reimbursement of these Social Security expenses.
“The exoskeleton ensures the plasticity of the nervous system. It reproduces walking (..) This is also an important aspect of the prevention of osteoporosis, etc.,” he noted.