Regaining mobility, strength and learning to walk again while recovering from a stroke can be a big challenge. Now, many who find themselves in wheelchairs could soon be back on their feet again thanks to an innovative gait-assisting machine called the “Space Walker”.

The “Space Walker” is the brainchild of a team led by Warath Sitlaothaworn, a student in the mechanical engineering programme of Thammasat University.  His thesis landed him a chance to create supportive equipment that helps patients and the elderly learn to walk again.

“For patients facing gait difficulties, learning to walk again and getting back to a normal life should be a top priority. So, it’s great if I can help them with their rehabilitation and become stronger,” Warath says.

In 2019, Warath and Assistant Professor Dr. Bunyong Rungroungdouyboon, the head of CED2, set up Medicubed Co., Ltd. to produce the Space Walker under the WOKA brand. Available via online channels, more than 200 machines have so far been sold to both individuals and hospitals nationwide.

The user-friendly Space Walker is a gait-assisting machine with a dynamic partial weight support system that uses a gas spring to support the patient’s body. It has been designed for people who have a lack of coordination or loss of balance and weakness in the legs, such as those who have suffered a stroke, have myasthenia gravis and the elderly.

Normally, stroke patients who return home after undergoing rehab are often wary of walking or exercising due to fears of falling. Space Walker ensures the patients will not fall thanks to a solid preventive system. Space Walker can support a patient’s weight up to 120 Kg and a height of between 140-190 cm.

Warath points out that the best way for patients to recover is to exercise at home with supportive equipment. Space Walker allows the patients to increase their walking activity and does away with the need to go for rehabilitation at a hospital.

Warath added that the quality of Space Walker is on par with the imported products but much cheaper, meaning that Thais can afford this vital aid. In addition, the company also offers the Space Walker for rent.

The Space Walker can be tried out at the Excellence Center in Creative Engineering and Development (CED2), Mechanical Engineering Department, Thammasat University.