Project information

Bionic Exoskeleton:Helping Paralysed Patients Walk

Bionic exoskeleton suits are revolutionary pieces of equipment, designed to help paralysed patients experience the sensation of walking again. The Spinal Cord Injury Centre (Northern General Hospital) wish to purchase a suit, costing £100,000 to aid patient’s care and rehabilitation

September 2012 - April 2013

Charity information: Sheffield Hospitals Charity

Sheffield Hospitals Charity logo
  • Need


    There is simply no other device in the UK, which offers the level of mobility and psychological benefits that the exoskeleton does. It represents the hope for many paralysed patients of being able to experience the sensation of walking again. The exoskeleton will significantly enhance the therapy and rehabilitation services currently available to patients at the Centre and may even one day replace the wheelchair, as the primary mobility aid for paralysed patients.


    1. Psychological benefits of being able to walk again-enhancing independence and freedom;
    2. Better bone health, reduced contractures and less chances of developing painful pressure sores;
    3. wheelchair usage encourages the body to remain largely sedentary leading to health problems including decreased blood circulation, arthritis, disturbed bowel function and decreased muscle strength;
    4. The exoskeleton enables an upright four point reciprocal gait which mimics the natural human gait.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Giving hope to paralysed patients of being able to experience the sensation of walking again.


    » To purchase a suit for use by patients at the Spinal Cord Injuries Centre in order to enhance their existing rehabilitation regime.

    What success will look like

    Patient benefits and views will be closley monitored by the medical team in order to ensure that patients get the very best results from using the suit.

  • Impact


    Working closely with the developer of the suit to help create a personal version of the suit, available for use at home- providing a viable alternative to the wheelchair.


    Insufficient funds to maintain the suit was identified as a risk, however, resources within the existing budget have now been found.


    The medical team are happy to provide a detailed annual report listing the patient benefits the exoskeleton provides and progress as regards helping create a personal version of the suit.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £100,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £100,000 1 Ekso suit purchase of an Ekso suit

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Fundraising £17,500 Guaranteed
    Trust Fundraising £35,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The exoskeleton will help patients of the Spinal Cord Injuries Centre, which is a state of the art purpose built Centre for patients living with serious injuries to their spinal cord and is the second largest specialist Centre in the country. It is regarded as a centre of excellence for pressure sore management and provides comprehensive care to its patients, which includes surgery, therapy and rehabilitation.


    The exoskeleton will help patients of the Spinal Cord Injuries Centre (based at the Sheffield Northern General Hospital), who are living with serious spinal cord injuries and therefore unable to walk. It is anticipated that 20 patients per year could significantly benefit from using the suit.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Sheffield Hospitals Charity has been working hard since 1996 to help improve the care and treatment of thousands of local people living in Sheffield and South Yorkshire. The NHS funds patient care and we work hard to enhance it. We achieve this by investing over £2 million a year in projects that make life better for patients being treated for almost every type of condition in Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Duncan Batty

    Head of Fundraising and Development-overseeing and managing our fundraising efforts.

    Jamie Strachan

    Senior Corporate Fundraising Officer-working with our corporate supporters in order to generate support for the exoskeleton.

    Isla Denoon & Jenna Settle

    Community Fundraising Officers- working closely with our individual supporters, helping them to raise funds for the exoskeleton.

    Shasta Ashraf

    Trust Fundraising Officer-contacting supportive trusts and foundations in order to generate support for the exoskeleton.

Richard Nuttman, demonstrates an exoskeleton