Many people who suffer from multiple sclerosis (MS) also have to deal with a condition called “foot drop.” Foot drop causes people to have difficulty lifting their feet or keeping their toes upward when they walk, which causes them to drag their toes and increases their risk of tripping.
In order to help those who suffer from foot drop, a man named Pierluigi Mantovani developed a wearable device called EvoWalk that combats foot drop by delivering electrical stimulation to the muscles in the leg. Mantovani was inspired by his father’s own battle with foot drop and used his background in neuroscience to develop the device. Although it’s not the first device of its kind, it may be the smartest and most affordable.
So, how does it work? EvoWalk wraps around a person’s leg, delivering electrical impulses as they walk. But unlike similar electrical stimulation devices, EvoWalk is paired with sensors and AI software that makes the timing of these pulses more precise, as well as recording real-time data on the wearer’s gait, which can help them get the most out of physical therapy.
Mantovani and his partners at the Berkeley-based startup Evolution Devices have conducted three, eight-week-long pilots of the latest version of the device. The pilots revealed that the system can increase walking speed by 20 percent and can help a person take up to 10 times more steps per day.
Moving forward, Evolution Devices expects to receive. FDA approval for the EvoWalk in 2021. Although there is no word on the final cost of the system, it is expected to only cost a fraction of the price of similar devices, which go for around $5,000.
Image source: Evolution Devices