The Walking Dead Stuntman Who Suffered ‘Serious Injuries’ During Production Is Dead

John Bernecker — The Walking Dead stuntman who was hospitalized after sustaining “serious injuries” on the AMC drama’s Georgia set — has died, the Coweta County Coroner’s Office in Georgia confirmed to Entertainment Weekly.

The stuntman and actor, who also worked on The Fate of the Furious and Logan, was placed on life support after suffering massive head injuries that left him brain dead, Deadline reports.

Sources told the outlet Bernecker and an actor were rehearsing a fight scene that was supposed to end with a routine fall from a balcony, but he lost his footing and fell 30 ft. to concrete floor.

“We are saddened to report that John Bernecker, a talented stuntman for The Walking Dead and numerous other television shows and films, suffered serious injuries from a tragic accident on set,” AMC said in a statement. “He was immediately transported to an Atlanta hospital and we have temporarily shut down production. We are keeping John and his family in our thoughts and prayers.”

10 Easy Steps to Toned Legs

Toning your legs is a fantastic way to increase your overall level of fitness and health, and the great thing is that it is easier to do than you probably think it is. Some of the largest muscles in your body are located in your legs, and targeting these muscles will let you quickly burn off excess fat. Here are 10 things that you can try to get the legs you want:

1. Jogging
Jogging is one of the best ways to burn calories and tone your muscles at the same time. It tops the list of most calorie-burning sport activities. It is a cardiovascular exercise that will provide your legs with many of the same benefits as strength training. Jogging actively engages your calves, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, and quadriceps, essentially targeting your legs as a whole.

If you decide to enhance your legs by jogging, you should know certain tips. First of all, find a pair of shoes, which corresponds to the type of activity. Visit a store that is specialized in jogging equipment and consult a specialist. Secondly, you should always warm your muscles before running. This way, you will avoid luxation and sore muscles. When you make a point of jogging, do it every day regardless of your busy schedule and tiredness. It’s of crucial importance to develop a habit of jogging every day. You can train either indoors or outside. If you choose the last option, consider inviting a friend to join you.

Remember, you should love what you do. Emotional aspect isn’t less important that physical. Just be proud of your strong will-power and desire to be better.

2. Walking
Walking offers many of the same benefits as jogging, but does so with less exertion and less pressure on your knees, so this is a great choice if you’re dealing with some knee trouble. Another great thing about walking is that, while jogging will definitely burn up those calories, walking is slightly better at keeping your heartbeat in a fat-burning zone.

If your legs are strong, you can combine the activities: 20 minutes of jogging and 10 minutes of walking and vice versa. However, don’t cherish the illusion that you can enjoy walking if you are too busy to dedicate time to any other sport activity. Just like jogging or any other exercise, walking includes certain safety rules. Firstly, choose the area that is equipped with walking paths. If there is nothing of a kind, head to the nearest park or green zone. It will be even more useful and effective: unpolluted fresh air will surely benefit to your skin and body. Always put on bright colors in order to be visible to drivers, runners and other people. Wearing reflective clothes in the evening is a must! Remember what your mom has always told you? Look both ways when you cross the street! If you are a loud music-lover, make sure you can hear the cars and bikes outside. It’s extremely important for your safety and I hope you understand that.

3. Squats
Looking specifically to tone up those quads and glutes? You can use squats to target the muscles in your thighs and your butt. To do a squat properly, you need to start with your legs about shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and focus on holding your weight by using your thighs rather than by putting pressure on your knees. My couch always tells me to imagine as if I’m trying to sit down on an invisible chair.

When done properly, your knees should never creep out past your toes during a squat. In fact, there are different types of squats. One of the most difficult ways to do squats is body weight jump squat. Place your hands at the back of your head and stretch your elbows. Try to jump as high as possible and squat at once you land. The exercise may seem childish to you, but trust me, at the beginning you will hardly accomplish 10 times! This exercise will help tone your calves and front and back of thighs.

Watch your breathing: inhale with your nose and exhale with your mouse. Breathe deep. When you feel the slightest signs of burning pain in your lunges, take a short break. If you want to strengthen your butt, give a try to pistol squats. No, you don’t have to jump. Just raise your leg and hold it in parallel with the floor when you are down. Balance is the main trick here. Try braced squats with barbells or dumbbells to achieve your fitness goal faster.

4. Step-ups
Step-ups are another effective and easy glute and quad exercise. All you need is a raised, flat surface that you can step up on to. An exercise bench is great if you have one, but you can definitely improvise with household items. Start by placing one foot on the bench, and then, with your arms by your sides, transfer your weight, straighten the leg, and step all the way up. Alternate the leg each time you step up. Try to do it for about 50 times with 3 or 4 sets. But if you are the beginner, start with only one set of 30 times. Use barbells and dumbbells to intensify your workout.

Breathing is a crucial part of this activity. However, opinions differ as for when you should inhale and exhale. I suggest you to find your own comfortable pace and way of breathing. Another way to make the exercise more useful is by pushing your second leg when you are up. It won’t be too hard even for the beginner. However, be careful with this exercise if you have any knee problems since it produces great pressure on your knees and may cause serious injuries.

5. Lunges
Lunges also target your glutes and quads, and are a good way to target your hams as well. Start by having both feet close together, and then step forward with one leg until your knee reaches a 90 degree angle, making sure that you keep your back straight. Hold your position for a few counts and then bring your leg back. Even though this exercise seems to be very simple, there are a few common mistakes that you can make when performing lunges. The first, most frequent mistake is the distance between your legs. The distance is different for each person since we have various height, legs and feeling of comfort. It’s very easy to damage your knee-cup due to the unbalanced position. Look at the mirror to make sure there is a 90 degree angle between your legs.

The next mistake you can make is to lean too forward. It also causes excessive load on your knee-cup and involves dislocations. If you cannot see your supporting knee when performing lunges, there’s a problem. Remember, your back, head and supporting leg should create one straight line.

6. Walking lunges
Walking lunges are essentially the same as regular lunges. The difference is that instead of bringing your leading leg back after the lunge is completed, you step forward with your other leg instead, briefly straightening both legs out. Although walking lunges are one of the best and easiest leg toning exercises, it’s important to perform it correctly. Once you learn the right way to do walking lunges, you can increase the intensity by adding weights like dumbbells or kettlebells. With a few reps, you will tone not only your thighs, but your butt as well.

7. Heel lifts
We’ve gone through several exercises that target your upper legs, but what about your lower legs? Heel lifts are very useful for targeting ankles and calves. To do them, you need to start in a sitting position with your back straight and both feet on the floor. Lift the heel of one of your feet while keeping your toes on the ground. Hold for a count of 5 or so and then repeat for your other foot.

To enhance the result, try to accomplish the exercise in a standing position. Use chair or any stable surface to keep balance. Since this is a very simple activity, you’d better do several sets of 40-50 repetitions.

There are some crucial mistakes that can stop you from reaching your fitness goal. Usually, people try to do this exercise as fast as possible in order to move to the more effective exercise, as they think. But, heel lifts must be done slowly. Count to five to recognize the endurance of the lifting. Yeah, it’s quite difficult, I know it! The second mistake concerns the height. Don’t try to stand up on your toes like a ballerina on her pointers! It won’t benefit to your muscles but can cause breaks and injuries.

8. Cycling
No list of leg-toning methods would be complete without the tried and true method of cycling. I’m really in love with this activity since it’s such a fun! Either get out on some biking trails or use a stationary bike at the gym or in the comfort of your own home. Cycling mainly targets your thighs and your butt, but will definitely help to tone up your calves as well. When you’re cycling outside make sure you remember all the rules I mentioned as for walking, such as bright clothes, proper attention while crossing the road, appropriate paths and moderate loudness of your iPod.

Adjust your bike to suit you. Make sure there is a proper seat height and it’s absolutely comfortable. It’s very important for a woman’s health! Consult the assistant to choose a high-quality bike and it will serve you for many years. When riding, always stay hydrated. Water is the only helper when we exercise. It improves metabolism, transports nutrients to where they’re needed and helps detoxify your body.

9. Leg extensions
Leg extensions are another simple exercise that you can do while sitting in a chair. Simply sit down with your back straight, lift both legs up, and hold them up for a few seconds at a time. If you’re working for long hours at your desk staring at a computer screen, then you can take a break to do this every half an hour or so.

You can also accomplish this exercise in a gym, using a leg extension machine. This will be much more beneficial to your legs. It’s one of my favorite exercises to do in a gym since it helps me tone my legs with little effort. Give it a try and you will notice striking results after the third session. Sit on the machine with your back tightly pressed against the chair back. Keep your arms twisted behind the chair or on the special props. When it comes to leg extensions, it’s important to keep the slow pace. When I started doing this exercise I could hardly complete 5 repetitions. Now I can accomplish 3 sets of 20 repetitions. This leg toning exercise isn’t as difficult as you might think!

10. Eat well
Finally, you’ll see quicker and more noticeable results from any of these leg-toning methods if you change your eating habits along with your workout routine. Make healthier choices, stay away from fried foods, increase your intake of fruits and veggies, and all of your efforts will be worth it. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, though you should start your day with a breakfast each day. This way, you will avoid sluggish and lightheaded feelings throughout the day. Juice and bananas, whole grain bread and cereal, milk and yogurt are all great options! Never work out before eating your first meal of the day, though. It’s the surest way to upset stomach and cause gastric ulcer. If you exercise in the morning, try to get up earlier in order to have breakfast at least an hour before going to the gym.

Stick to a routine and you’ll see results in no time! The great thing about being able to choose between so many different exercises is that you can mix up your routine in order to keep yourself from getting bored. Laziness and boredom are the number 1 killers of exercise routines, so do something different every day and not only will you get the toned legs you desire, but you’ll have fun getting them as well.

5 Healthy Ways to Detox This Spring

Although a healthy body has the ability to detoxify itself, not all of us has healthy bodies. The winter season with its comfort foods, lazy days and long nights took its toll on our bodies. Now it is time to get your body functions back on track, get rid of winter bloating and start preparing for the bikini season. Follow these five steps to cleansing your body naturally and eliminate the toxins from your life.


Healthy Ways to Detox This Spring

1. Start your morning with fruit-infused water
Instead of drinking a cup of your favorite coffee or black tea, sip your way to a toxin-free, healthy body. Start your morning with a glass of fruit-infused water. Make sure you do not add sugar and honey to it.

Lemon, lime, berry or kiwi water is a much healthier alternative to coffee and black tea that helps to cleanse the body as well as boost the immune system. Green tea is a healthy drink too unless you buy a cheap version and add sugar to it.

2. Get your heart pumping
Exercise stimulates the body and helps it cleanse itself. It improves the blood and lymph circulation, allowing the liver and lymph nodes to cleanse the fluids that contain white blood cells that flow through the body. Moreover, exercise opens up the sweat glands and helps to cleanse the skin through perspiration.

Running, bicycling, walking, jump roping, swimming, yoga and pilates are all good exercises for detoxifying your body. Do not overdo it, though. 10 minutes each morning or 20-30 minutes three times a week will be enough to promote your spring detox, not to mention that you may drop a few pounds. Stay hydrated and drink water before and after your morning workout routine.

3. Enjoy a healthy breakfast
If you are experiencing a heavy winter bloat, a nutrient-dense green smoothie must be your breakfast choice. If you are looking just to cleanse your body, a green smoothie and a healthy spring salad with one hard-boiled egg or spinach omelet for breakfast will do the trick.

The same goes for lunch and dinner. Choose your food combo carefully and eliminate any meal that you know may cause bloating. Consume more organic fruit and vegetables as well as nuts and seeds. Leafy greens have plenty of detoxing properties. Including them in your spring menu is a surefire way to detox and increase your energy level.

4. Eliminate bloating
Bloating is something that we can’t talk freely about, even at home. It may seem like a temporary problem when in reality it may become a permanent one. Incorporating bloat-fighting foods such as dandelion, cucumber, papaya, banana, ginger, asparagus, fennel seeds, chamomile, and peppermint into your daily meal plan is an effective way to eliminate bloating naturally.

5. Head to a sauna
Sauna helps to eliminate waste through perspiration. Plus, it helps to burn 63 to 84 calories in 30 minutes. But this option is not for everyone. Consult your doctor before relaxing in a sauna for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to balance your pH levels.

We typically go through the winter months in storage mode. All we do is stay warm and eat comfort food. Spring changes it all. Welcome the new weather and season full of fresh produce with these simple ways to detox the body.

How to Start a Walking Program

The next time you have a check-up, don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription to walk. Yes, this familiar activity is now being touted (along with other forms of regular physical activity) as “the closest thing we have to a wonder drug.”
Walking can have a bigger impact on disease risk and various health conditions than just about any other remedy that’s readily available to you. What’s more, it’s free and has practically no negative side effects. Walking for 2.5 hours a week—that’s just 21 minutes a day—can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%. In addition, this do-anywhere, no-equipment-required activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp. Even a quick one-minute jaunt pays off. A University of Utah study in 2014 found that for every minute of brisk walking that women did throughout the day, they lowered their risk of obesity by 5%. No more “I don’t have time” excuses!

Walking: An ideal form of exercise

Have you ever resolved on New Year’s Day to start exercising more—only to find that you didn’t have the time or couldn’t afford expensive lessons, classes, or gym fees? Maybe concerns about injuries kept you on the sidelines. Walking could just be the way to keep your resolution. Here’s why:

You already know how to do it. Just put one foot in front of the other. There’s no learning curve like you would have if you took up a new activity, such as Zumba or tennis.
You can do it anywhere. Step out your front door. Take a walk from where you work. You can walk around areas that you frequent, such as the grocery store, a shopping center, a place of worship, or the homes of friends and family.
You don’t need any special equipment. If you’re walking for exercise, it’s best to have a comfortable pair of shoes, preferably sneakers. But that’s it! While there are some items of clothing and gear that can make walking more enjoyable, they are not essential.
It’s gentle on your knees—and the rest of your body. Unlike running, you keep one foot on the ground at all times when you’re walking, making it a low-impact, joint-friendly type of exercise.

GCHQ knew WannaCry hero Marcus Hutchins would be ‘walking into a trap’ and FBI’s sting

Hutchins is reportedly expected to live in Los Angeles while awaiting his trialJOSHUA LOTT/AFP/Getty Images
British intelligence officials at GCHQ were reportedly aware of the FBI’s investigation into British security researcher Marcus Hutchins aka MalwareTech, before he travelled to the US to attend Black Hat and Def Con. He has been arrested for allegedly creating the Kronos banking malware.

GCHQ officials knew that Hutchins, hailed as a hero in England after he “accidentally” stopped the alarming propagation of the global WannaCry ransomware attacks, would be “walking into a trap” when he travelled to the US, The Sunday Times reported.

Hutchins, who recently pleaded not guilty in an American court, currently faces six charges and up to 40 years in prison. According to unspecified sources, Hutchins’ arrest, which took place in an airport in Las Vegas prior to him boarding a flight returning to the UK, reportedly saved the British government from having to deal with the “headache of an extradition battle” with their ally.

“Our US partners aren’t impressed that some people who they believe to have cases against [them] for computer-related offences have managed to avoid extradition. Hutchins’s arrest freed the British government and intelligence agencies from yet another headache of an extradition battle,” an unspecified source told The Times.

In the past, British citizens charged with alleged cyber offences by the US have been able to fight extradition, with support from UK courts. For instance, Gary McKinnon, who was accused of orchestrating the “biggest military computer hack of all time” by US authorities, was saved from being extradited to the US by then Home Secretary Theresa May. McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome and was reportedly deemed “seriously ill.”

Meanwhile, Hutchins was granted bail on 5 August but cannot yet return to the UK. He is currently under house arrest and is forced to wear a GPS tracker. However, he was allowed internet access to continue his research. Hutchins is reportedly expected to live in Los Angeles while awaiting his trial.

Walking linked to improved brain function

Aerobic exercise may also benefit the brain by increasing growth factors.  (iStock)

A moderate-intensity walking regimen may reduce symptoms of mild cognitive impairment that are linked to poor blood vessel health in the brain, a small study suggests.

Participants with vascular cognitive impairment, sometimes called vascular dementia, who walked three hours per week for six months had improved reaction times and other signs of improved brain function, the Canadian team reports in British Journal of Sports Medicine.

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Vascular cognitive impairment, or VCI, refers to mildly impaired thinking or more advanced dementia that’s due to the same kinds of blood vessel damage seen with heart disease elsewhere in the body. It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.


“It is well established that regular aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and cerebrovascular health,” the study’s senior author Teresa Liu-Ambrose told Reuters Health in an email.

“More specifically, it reduces one’s risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes (type II), and high cholesterol. These chronic conditions have a negative impact on the brain – likely through compromised blood flow to the brain,” said Liu-Ambrose, a researcher with the Aging, Mobility, and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

The brain is a highly metabolic organ and to keep it healthy, it requires good blood flow to deliver the necessary nutrients and oxygen to its tissues, she added.

“It is worth noting that in our study, reduced blood pressure (secondary to exercise) was associated with improved cognitive function,” Liu-Ambrose said.

Aerobic exercise may also benefit the brain by increasing growth factors, which are substances made by the body that promote cell growth, differentiation and survival, she said.

Liu-Ambrose and colleagues randomly assigned 38 older adults with mild VCI to one of two groups. One group followed an aerobic training program consisting of three one-hour walking classes each week for six months, while the other group continued with their usual care. In addition, both groups were given information about vascular cognitive impairment and tips for eating a healthier diet.

Before the exercise program began and at the end of six months, all the participants also had functional MRI brain scans and other tests that measured neural activity and cognitive ability.


People in the aerobic training group had significant improvements in their reaction times on the cognitive tests, and showed changes in their brain activity that made them resemble healthy brains more. The comparison group showed no changes.

Overall, exercise appears to be a promising strategy for promoting cognitive health in older adults, Liu-Ambrose said.

“While more research is needed to better understand how it brings about its benefits and what factors may impact the degree of benefit observed, there is minimal negative consequence of exercising,” she said.

Liu-Ambrose said she doesn’t know if exercise can actually prevent VCI because there have been no studies to determine that. “However, population based studies do suggest that physical activity does reduce the risk of developing VCI. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, aerobic exercise is very effective in reducing vascular risk factors associated with VCI, such as high blood pressure.”

The study was small, and because participants had to be able to walk for up to an hour, it’s possible they were physically healthier than average, the authors note. The socializing involved in the walking classes might have also had some effect, they add.

“Given the small sample size, one needs to be cautious about interpreting the results of this pilot study. However, it is encouraging to see that the six-month aerobic exercise program improved certain aspects of cognition and showed changes on functional brain imaging,” said Dr. Joe Verghese, director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for the Aging Brain at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

“The effect of exercise in this, and other studies seems to be on improving executive functions, which are required for planning, thinking and judgment,” Verghese, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email.

“The findings, if confirmed in larger studies, may have implications in advising exercise in older patients with vascular risk factors for brain protection,” Verghese said.

‘Extremely dangerous’ £2,000 dog-walking drone pulled from sale as PR stunt backfires

Dog walking drone
Dog-walking drone was used as a publicity stunt which attracted more attention than expectedScreenshot

A £2,000 (€2,500) drone advertised as a way to walk your dog hands-free has been removed from the retailer’s website after it was branded “extremely dangerous”.

Called the Proflight Walkies Dog Drone, the quadcopter was advertised for sale by West Yorkshire firm Drones Direct. It was claimed to be based on the DJI Phantom 4, a powerful drone popular with hobbyists and aerial photographers.

But the drone, which was said to have been fitted with a retractable dog lead to keep canine friends “safe and under control”, was slammed by DJI, who had not authorised the modification of its drone.

‘Extremely dangerous’

A DJI spokesperson told IBTimes UK: “We do not condone using a drone in this way and as a responsible company who prioritises safety, we asked for it to be removed. While we recognise this is a PR stunt, it would be extremely dangerous to use a drone in this manner both for the animal and anyone in the vicinity.”

The retailer suggested dog owners could let the drone walk their dog unaccompanied, stating: “You can use your smartphone to keep an eye on your dog to be sure they’re on their best behaviour via the drone’s built-in camera.”

Safety concerns

The drone also raised concern at Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, a Dogs Trust spokesperson said the charity “has concerns about the safety of dogs being walked by drones. A drone cannot guarantee that a dog will be kept safe or under control and could put the dog at risk of getting lost or stolen.”

The retailer had originally claimed the drone was a real product, despite using mocked-up images to demonstrate how it would work.

Dog walking drone
The drone was advertised for £1,999Screenshot

Drones Direct marketing manager Mark Kelly told The Sun newspaper the device is a “great alternative for pet owners who lead busy lives by giving the option of hands-free walking”.

But after it was removed from the site, following a conversation with DJI, a Drones Direct employee admitted to IBTimes UK that it was in fact a publicity stunt. One which had “attracted a lot more attention than we expected”.

Robotic Suit Promotes Normal Walking In Stroke Patients

Walking upright on two legs is a defining human trait, but it’s one that can vanish in the blink of an eye.

About 80 percent of stroke patients typically lose normal function in one limb, a clinical phenomenon called hemiparesis. Even patients who recover mobility with rehabilitation can have abnormalities in their gait that keep them from participating in many activities, increase their risks of falling, and, because of the more sedentary lifestyle they impose, lead to secondary health problems.

To help these patients regain their ability to walk, robotics groups from industry and academia are developing powered wearable devices — known as exoskeletons — that restore gait functions or assist with rehabilitation. In the past, these systems could be used only on a treadmill in a clinical setting, but in recent years developers have created portable systems. Working toward the long-term goal of developing soft robots that can be worn as clothing, researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and Boston University’s College of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences: Sargent College have developed a lightweight, soft, wearable, ankle-assisting exosuit that can reinforce normal gaits in people with hemiparesis after stroke.

In previous studies performed in healthy people, the team had demonstrated that their exosuit technology could help wearers walk and jog and produced marked reductions in energy costs. Now, in a study published in Science Translational Medicine, a research team led by Conor Walsh, the John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences at SEAS and founder of the Harvard Biodesign Lab, collaborating with BU faculty members Terry Ellis, Louis Awad, and Kenneth Holt, has demonstrated that exosuits also can be used to improve walking after stroke — a critical step in de-risking exosuit technology toward real-world use.

Soft Exosuit for Post-Stroke Gait Retraining

Patients recovering from a stroke develop compensatory walking strategies to deal with the inability to clear the ground with their affected limb and to “push off” at the ankle during forward movement. Typically, in order to walk they have to lift their hips (hip hiking) or move their affected foot forward in an outward circle (circumduction) rather than in a straight line. Usually, rigid plastic ankle braces are prescribed to help with walking, but they do not help correct the abnormal gait patterns in about 85 percent of post-stroke patients.

“Current approaches to rehabilitation fall short and do not restore the mobility that is required for normal life,” said Ellis, director of the Center for Neurorehabilitation at Sargent College and an assistant professor at BU. In the new study, the team asked whether the exosuit would have the same beneficial impact on gait mechanics and energy expenditure on post-stroke patients as it did on healthy people.

Exosuits are anchored to the affected limb of a hemiparetic patient via functional apparel, and apply gait-restoring forces to the ankle joint by transferring mechanical power via cable-based transmission from battery-powered actuators that are integrated into a hip belt or an off-board cart placed next to a treadmill.

“Indeed, in treadmill experiments we found that a powered exosuit improved the walking performance of seven post-stroke patients, helping them to clear the ground and push off at the ankle, thus generating more forward propulsion,” said SEAS graduate student Jaehyun Bae, a co-first author on the study. Interestingly, the team also observed reduced functional asymmetry between participants’ paretic and non-paretic limbs, and found that they walked more efficiently with the exosuit.

Because walking mechanics and dynamics are different on a treadmill and in the home or communal environment, the team assessed the exosuit’s benefits in an overground walking experiment. “It was extremely encouraging to see that an untethered exosuit also had the ability to facilitate more normal walking behavior during overground walking. This is a key step toward developing exosuits as rehabilitation devices for patients to use outside of the clinic and in their normal lives,” said Awad, the study’s other co-first author, who at the time of the study was a postdoctoral fellow with Walsh and since has become an associate faculty member at the Wyss Institute and assistant professor at Sargent College.

Conor Walsh (left) and graduate student Jaehyun Bae fine-tune an ankle-assisting exosuit. Credit: Rolex Awards/Fred Merz
In ongoing and future research, the team wants to personalize exosuit assistance to specific gait abnormalities, investigate assistance at other joints such as the hip and knee, and assess the longer-term therapeutic effects of their technology. In addition to this research, Wyss Institute staff member Kathleen O’Donnell is leading the institute’s efforts to translate the technology to the clinic with industrial partner ReWalk Robotics.

“In an ideal future, patients post-stroke would be wearing flexible adjusting exosuits from the get-go to prevent them from developing inefficient gait behaviors in the first place,” said Ellis.

Other co-authors were Holt, an associate professor at Sargent College; Stefano De Rossi, Lizeth Sloot, Pawel Kudzia, and Stephen Allen, former and current members on Walsh’s team; and Katy Hendron, who worked in Ellis’ group at BU.

“This study provides a glimpse of a new future where much of patient care will be carried out at home with the help of human-friendly robots, which look nothing like the robots we see in television and movies. This exosuit looks more like sports clothing than R2-D2, yet it is equally programmable and carries out tasks on command; however, the exosuit is lightweight, flexible, virtually invisible to others, and individualizes itself for each patient.

“We hope that it will soon enter clinical use where it undoubtedly could transform the lives of stroke patients for the better,” said Wyss Institute Director Donald Ingber.

The study was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Warrior Web Program, grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, a Rolex Award for Enterprise, the Harvard University Star Family Challenge, and Wyss Institute and SEAS funding.