'Not impossible anymore': Robotic suits used to teach paralysed to walk again

Amanda Abate

An adventurous teen who once thought he'd never walk again after a BMX accident, has seen the impossible become a possibility.

Researchers at Griffith University on the Gold Coast are trialling high-tech robotic suits in a bid to allow paralysed people to walk again.

Jeremiah Sas was just 18-years-old when tragedy struck.

But after spending the past two years in a wheelchair, Mr Sas can now walk again.

Jeremiah Sas is walking again after a BMX accident two years ago. Source: 7News

“It’s just great to stand upright,” he said.

The new artificial exo-skeleton suits trick the brain into thinking it can move and feel.

According to researchers, eventually the trick becomes a reality.

Mr Sas's spinal injury. Source: 7News

“Essentially it plays some tricks on the brain to enhance your ability to make new connections,” Professor Harry McConnell said.

“It’s going to be a very exciting opportunity for Australia.”

As part of the research team, Dinesh Palipana is working to transform lives including his own.

“It’s not impossible anymore,” Mr Palipana added. “It’s a possibility."

“We’ve seen it, we just need to bring it to more people.”

Researchers working with the robotic suit technology. Source: 7News

The virtual reality technology is re-training the brain to move, feel and control muscles.

“For the first time in history, we’ve started seeing people walk again,” Mr Palipana said.

The technology is gaining plenty of momentum both in Australia and overseas. Scientists from Harvard University will arrive in Australia next week to launch a new trial with researchers on the Gold Coast.

The aim will be to improve outcomes for patients and their quality of life, given results from overseas have proved astounding.

Patients in worldwide trials have already regained partial movement, skin sensation, and in many cases, their independence.