Exploring

Based on years of experience, Mark provides insights into leading through a crisis; developing intrinsic motivation; and innovating at the intersection where humans and technology collide.

Mark says: “Up to this point in history, it has proven to be impossible to find a cure for paralysis. But history is filled with accounts of the impossible made possible through human endeavour. The kind of human endeavour that took explorers to the South Pole at the start of the last century. And, the kind of human endeavour that will take adventurers to Mars in the early part of this century.

Inspired by those stories of exploration we started asking ourselves, “Why can’t that same human endeavor cure paralysis in our lifetime?” Now, we believe it can, as we explore the intersection where humans and technology collide.

Take a look at some of Mark’s milestones exploring the intersection where humans and technology collide through the Mark Pollock Trust.

Exploration highlights

The following section is a timeline illustrating highlights of Mark’s Exploration story in images and videos.

2018

Exoskeleton Access Programme

We launched an Exoskeleton Access Programme at Dublin City University. This programme to provide universal access to Ekso Bionics robotic legs for paralysed people, stroke patients, those with MS and other neurological conditions for a nominal fee.

A picture of a set of Ekso Bionics robotic legs placed on a bench

 

2017

When humans and technology collide

Mark Pollock and Jonjo Bright discuss the experience of walking in Ekso Bionics robotic legs.

 

 

A 50 Subject Spinal Excitability Study

We completed a spinal cord excitability study in a group of 25 healthy subjects and 25 paralysed subjects in Trinity College Dublin to gather baseline data to feed into more complex research studies with multiple technologies. 

A picture of a set of Ekso Bionics robotic legs placed on a bench

 

2016

Research Partnership With Microsoft & 2 Universities

Mark began working with Microsoft on a series of data and cloud computing projects alongside students at Imperial College London and University College London.

 

 

2015

Exploring the space between skeleton and skin

As part of our ongoing research using trans-cutaneous spinal stimulation, Mark stood independently. The moment was captured in an award-winning radio documentary featured on Newstalk’s Futureproof.Listen to the Futureproof documentary

2014

Expecting Problems as We Explore Possibilities at TEDx Hollywood

Mark explains how he worked with UCLA’s Reggie Edgerton, the world’s leading authority on electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, to become the first person in the world with chronic complete paralysis to regain enough voluntary control to actively take steps in a robotic exoskeleton while having his spinal cord electrically stimulated.

2013

Stimulating Voluntary Movement at UCLA

Professor Yury Gerasimenko of the Pavlov Institute electrically stimulated Mark’s spinal cord during some baseline testing at UCLA. And, for the first time since his accident 3 years earlier, Mark voluntarily pulled his knee to his chest.

2012

Stress testing the early designs of Ekso Bionics robotic legs

After walking for the first time in 2012, Mark went on to become the world’s leading test pilot of Ekso Bionics robotic legs. And, during the early years of walking, Mark worked with the Ekso Bionics team to stress test components for the next generation Ekso GT.

 

2011

Promoting Neuro-Plasticity

Mark explored the potential of promoting neuro-plasticity in his nervous system by following a daily aggressive physical therapy programme in the US. And, with the support of his former South Pole teammate, Simon O’Donnell, they continued the training back in Ireland. 

I first met Mark while competing against him in the North Pole Marathon and was struck by his incredible spirit. To take on endurance challenges in places like The Poles, Himalaya and Gobi Desert requires great courage and mental strength. The fact that Mark completes these adventures after losing the use of his eyes and now his legs makes him truly remarkable.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Explorer

Mark was a speaker at National Geographic’s Extreme Explorers dinner in Davos in January 2016. His personal story and insights were incredibly powerful, and clearly had a profound impact on everyone in the room. He embodies the spirit, resilience and determination that are the hallmarks of what it means to be an explorer.

Editor in Chief

National Geographic Magazine

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