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Child Exoskeleton

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A Georgia girl is learning to walk again, after an accident in a bounce-house left her paralyzed on one side.  She’s getting help from a state-of-the-art technology straight out of a science-fiction movie. 

At 12 years old, Cheyenne Smith is learning to walk again. Three days a week she’s strapped into an exo-skeleton. 

Cheyenne says the robotic suit makes her feel like a bionic girl. “I’m a kid who is ready for anything.”

Six years ago, at a birthday party, Cheyenne landed on her head while playing in a bounce-house. The injury damaged a blood vessel in her neck and caused a stroke, affecting her left side. “She was in a coma for almost a month. So, it was just something that we were waiting to see what was going to happen,” says mother Heather Smith.

When she woke up, she started physical therapy right away. She is now using the Ekso to stand and walk. The wearable robot has sensors that with Cheyenne as she walks forward. The repetitive movements help the body re-learn the right step patterns. 

“If she continues physical therapy, you think she can walking on her own you think?”

“Yes, I do. I think she’s very motivated and she’s showing the right steps and right attention and starting to use the right muscles,” says Erin Eggebrecht.
 
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the first in the country to use the Ekso with children. 

“Is this tiring?”

“Not really.”

“So you could do this all day?”

“Yeah!”

Cheyenne says she’ll keep taking it one step at a time. 

“I feel like I’m progressing every day.” 

Her mother adds, “I have no doubt that she will continue to progress and live an awesome life.”

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says they have had nearly 30 patients use the exoskeleton so far. 

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