Tribe Feed Forums 2024 Insight Preventing freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease using wearable robotic apparel | Dr Franchino Porciuncula

  • Preventing freezing of gait in Parkinson’s disease using wearable robotic apparel | Dr Franchino Porciuncula

    Posted by BB Admin on 09/04/2024 at 6:28 pm
    Jane CLARKE replied 1 month ago 14 Members · 19 Replies
  • 19 Replies
  • Melissa McConaghy

    11/04/2024 at 8:23 am

    Thanks Franchino for presentation and INSIGHTS.

    For any comments or questions, please add them here so that we can forward them on to the speaker.

    • Bereket Tanju

      11/04/2024 at 7:52 pm

      Hi- what is the nature of the computational algorithms in the wearable robotics apparel ? And Is it tuned to the specific person ?

      • Franchino Porciuncula

        13/04/2024 at 12:44 am

        Hello Bereket. Thank you for your question. The forces are tuned to each person, based on one’s walking ability and stepping patterns. Assistive forces are provided at the end of stance phase of walking (marked by maximum hip extension). The algorithm thereafter provides an assisitve force that is in concert with biological movement of the hip during the swing phase of the walking cycle. This essentially provides assistance at every step of walking during when the leg is swinging forward (off the ground), and turned off during stance (when leg is on the ground).

    • Louise May

      12/04/2024 at 11:30 am

      Hello. please advise whether either the hand support for tremor and the walking assistance for freezing are both in trial stages only?

      Is there anything along these lines available on the market today?

      My husband has Parkinson’s and we would be most interested to try any device if we can get it to Australia? Most interesting presentation encouraging hope for sufferers. Thank you, Louise

    • Ken Morrison

      13/04/2024 at 4:16 am

      Thank you for your presentation on FoG

      I am fortunate that I have not experienced any issues with my gait

      What I have experienced is freezing during sports eg freezing while bowling and being unable to release the ball and the shuttle during service and when playing pickleball or during badminton

      Is there any suggestion for this kind of problem


  • Anita Rattray

    11/04/2024 at 3:14 pm

    Hi, I’m a PT who frequently manages FOG in PwP. May I ask is it an electrical stimulation that you are giving to the patient with this robotic device or is it more like an exoskeleton that mobilises the limb? Thank you?

    • Franchino Porciuncula

      13/04/2024 at 12:51 am

      Hello Anita. Thank you for this question. The robotic apparel provides mechanical assistance, by way of cable retraction and release at every step. The robotic apparel does not provide electrical stimulation. The mechanical assistance is similar in a way to an exoskeleton, however there are still key differences: the soft robotic apparel provides substantially lower forces and is joint-targeting. It provides just enough assistance to augment movement, but does not overpower one’s movement – which would be typical of some of the rigid load-bearing exoskeletons.

  • T M

    11/04/2024 at 3:24 pm

    When will these apparel be available to patients, in clinical practice?

    • Franchino Porciuncula

      13/04/2024 at 12:56 am

      Hello, it is our vision to have this technology be available to users and people with PD. At this time, we are in the early phase of testing and investigation on how this might be useful to more people with PD with different walking presentations and Freezing characteristics. We want to make sure that this robotic system has compelling benefits to more people with PD before we commercialize. Our team has experience and success in commercializing robotics from our previous work in Stroke – and we will leverage similar pipelines for commercialization for the robotic apparel for freezing of gait in PD.


    11/04/2024 at 3:44 pm

    WEll thankyou very much for your fascinating presentation I’m wondering is there any likelihood that we could access these in Australia that sometimes soon in the future I’m very interested because I have several Falls a day to the freezing of gate mostly okay thank you bye for now

    • Franchino Porciuncula

      13/04/2024 at 1:03 am

      Hello Suzanne, thank you for this kind comment. We are currently in testing phase. We are working very hard to understand how the robotic apparel might be useful to more people with PD with freezing of gait. After this investigation and further optimization of our robotic apparel, we will commercialize and make this available for people to use. I hope you are taking good care.

  • Danielle Robinson

    12/04/2024 at 1:02 am

    Power and volts are mentioned. How do robotics work?

  • John Root

    12/04/2024 at 3:43 am

    fyi there is a Korean company working on a similar device.

    Unveiling a Lightweight Walking Assist Robot WIM at CES 2024 (

    price about $3000.00 the picture in link is not the unit.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  John Root.
    • Franchino Porciuncula

      13/04/2024 at 1:19 am

      Thank you John for sharing this information. It is my hope that we as a field understand how we can get the most benefits from these new technologies to address the challenges in walking in PD. I think there is lots of potential!

  • Shirley Maier

    12/04/2024 at 8:16 am

    Very interesting would robotic apparel be helpful with people with other mobility issues. How about PD people with memory loss?

    • Franchino Porciuncula

      13/04/2024 at 1:16 am

      Hello Shirley, this is a very good question. We are observing that the robotic apparel is capable of improving walking quality, in addition to benefits on preventing freezing of gait. Therefore, it has high potential in helping other walking impairments in PD. We would need to study this further to actually understand the effects on other walking impairments.

      I think there is also potential benefit in using the robotic apparel in those with memory/ cognitive difficulties. The loss of walking automaticity in PD tends to make walking as an attention/ cognitive demanding task. The assistance of the robotic apparel is automated wherein it follows and adapts to the user’s movement. Therefore, it could potentially help walking in someone who has cognitive issues by alleviating some of the attention off walking through the aid of the robot. This will need to be tested to understand how usable the robotic apparel in this particular context.

  • Stacey Bunton

    22/04/2024 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this presentation, very promising work! Did you see any carry over of skill without the device after the trials with it? Is that an area that you intend to look at with future studies?

  • Jane CLARKE

    08/05/2024 at 4:39 pm

    Hi there,

    Great presentation – any carry over when the device was taken off?


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