Design of the Wearable Power-Assist Locomotor (WPAL) for paraplegic gait reconstruction

Shigeo Tanabe*, Eiichi Saitoh, Satoshi Hirano, Masaki Katoh, Tomohiko Takemitsu, Akihito Uno, Yasuhiro Shimizu, Yoshihiro Muraoka, Toru Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: To develop and clinically evaluate a novel assistive walking system, the Wearable Power-Assist Locomotor (WPAL). Methods: To evaluate the performance of WPAL, a clinical trial is conducted with four paraplegic patients. After fitting the WPAL, patients learned to use the WPAL. The length and duration of independent walking was measured and compared to conventional orthosis (Primewalk). Results: After training, all patients were able to stand, sit, and walk independently with the WPAL. Compared to a conventional orthosis (Primewalk), the duration and distance of independent ambulation increased. The physiological cost index (PCI), perceived exertion and EMG of upper extremities decreased. Conclusions: WPAL might greatly enhance the possibility of restoration gait to paraplegic patients. Implications for Rehabilitation WPAL is developed to provide independent and comfortable walking for spinal cord injury patients. WPAL is less demanding physically than conventional orthosis (Primewalk). Even patients who cannot walk independently with conventional orthosis might be able to do so with WPAL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Gait rehabilitation
  • Motorized orthosis
  • Rehabilitation robotics
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation
  • Speech and Hearing


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of the Wearable Power-Assist Locomotor (WPAL) for paraplegic gait reconstruction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this