A Study of Health and Mobility Benefits Resulting from the Use of an Exoskeleton in Individuals with a Spinal Cord Injury


About this study

The purpose of this study is to assess whether or not consistent walking in an exoskeletal device provides health benefits, and to assess the level of mobility provided by the exoskeletal device to non-ambulatory and poorly-ambulatory individuals that have had a spinal cord injury. 



Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

Inclusion Criteria

  • Age 18 years or older
  • Size and limb proportions capable of fitting in the exoskeletal device
    • Height between 1.55 m (5 ft., 1 in) and 1.92 m (6 ft., 3 in)
    • Femur length between 37.5 cm (15 in) and 43.125 cm (17.25 in)
    • Body mass no greater than 114 kg (250 lb)
  • Non-ambulatory or poorly-ambulatory with non-ambulatory  defined as unable to walk or classified with a Functional Independence Measure (FIM) Gait score 1, and poorly ambulatory defined as FIM Gait score 2- 6 and may be able to walk short distances with or without braces or stability aid, or may be able to walk with assistance of one person but whose primary means of mobility is a manual or power-operated wheelchair
  • Has sufficient upper extremity strength and coordination to balance using appropriate stability aids, such as a rolling walker or forearm crutches during exoskeleton walking
  • Present with SCI and NLI C5 or lower, with AIS A, B, C or D (as per the International Standard for Neurological Classification of SCI, ISNCSCI) who are non-ambulatory or poorly ambulatory
  • Chronic SCI at least 6 months post-injury and preferably post-injury more than 1 year
  • Sufficient bone health for walking with full weight-bearing without undue risk of fracture, as determined by each subject’s personal medical doctor, and approved by each site’s medical supervisor
  • Passive range of motion at shoulders, trunk, upper extremities and lower extremities within functional limits for safe gait and use of appropriate assistive device/stability aid
  • Skin intact where interfacing with robotic device
  • MAS for spasticity score 3 or less in lower extremities
  • Blood pressure and heart rate within established guidelines for locomotor training
    • At rest systolic 150 mmHg or less, diastolic 90 mmHg or less, heart rate 105 bpm or less
    • During exercise systolic 180 mmHg or less, diastolic 105 mmHg or less, heart rate 145 bpm or less
  • Ability to tolerate an upright standing position for 20 min, passive or active, without being lightheaded or having a headache
  • Sufficient responsiveness to FES in the quadriceps, hamstrings, tibialis anterior, and gastrocnemius, as defined by MMT in response to stimulation of 3 or greater on a 5-point MMT scale
    • Specifically for study 2, but is included in study 1 in order to economize study resources regarding enrollment, training, and assessment, as previously discussed
  • Access to a wireless internet connection
    • Required only for study 3, but is included in study 1 in order to economize study resources regarding enrollment, training and assessment, as previously discussed

Exclusion Criteria

  • Heterotopic ossification that, in the opinion of the site medical supervisor, would place the subject at undue risk for fracture
  • Inability to follow instructions
  • Colostomy bag
  • Women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant during the course of the study
    • A pregnancy test will be required and must be negative for all women prior to enrolling in the study, and will be additionally required and must be negative every four weeks during the course of the study protocol
  • Any disease, concomitant injury, or condition that interferes with the performance or interpretation of the protocol- specified assessments
  • Insufficient availability to complete study
  • Any other issue which, in the opinion of the investigators or medical supervisor, make the subject unsuitable for study participation

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Kristin Zhao, Ph.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Tyson Scrabeck CCRP

(507) 538-1016


More information


Publications are currently not available

Study Results Summary

Not yet available

Supplemental Study Information

Not yet available


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