Sunday 19 November 2017

Man able to walk again thanks to his 'bionic' new leg

John Simpson wears the world's first lower-limb bionic exo-skeleton, which allows him to walk naturally for the first time in over 40 years
John Simpson wears the world's first lower-limb bionic exo-skeleton, which allows him to walk naturally for the first time in over 40 years

Victoria Ward

A former manager of sports stars including Nick Faldo and Sebastian Coe has become the first person in Britain to be fitted with a lower-limb bionic exoskeleton.

John Simpson (63), who has been unable to walk naturally since contracting polio as a boy, said his life had been "revolutionised" by the leg brace, which monitors his steps 50 times a second to enable it to move his leg for him.

Made of carbon fibre, it is stronger than steel and is powered by a battery that he charges at night, "like a phone".

The brace, which is controlled by Bluetooth, a wireless technology used in mobile phones, contains computers and sensors on his thigh, intuitively moving as he moves, enabling him to walk naturally for the first time in more than 40 years.

It contains up to five pre-sets, including modes for cycling, golf and even in-line skating.

Mr Simpson, a father-of-three from south-west London who has managed some of the world's top golfers, said the toughest challenge was having to trust the technology .He said: "For as long as I can remember, I've had to walk with a locked-knee steel caliper which I had to manually adjust whenever I wanted to bend my leg. If that malfunctioned, I broke my leg.

"This technology requires the ultimate trust as I have to put all my weight on it and trust that it will bend my leg." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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