26 August 2008

Exoskeleton Helps The Paralyzed Walk Again

It is no longer science-fiction.
The device, called ReWalk, is the brainchild of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, a small Israeli high-tech company.

Something of a mix between the exoskeleton of a crustacean and the suit worn by comic hero Iron Man, ReWalk helps paraplegics --- people paralyzed below the waist --- to stand, walk and climb stairs.

The system, which requires crutches to help with balance, consists of motorized leg supports, body sensors and a back pack containing a computerized control box, and rechargeable batteries.

The user picks a setting with a remote control wrist band --- stand, sit, walk, descend or climb --- and then leans forward, activating the body sensors and setting the robotic legs in motion.

"It raises people out of their wheelchair and lets them stand up straight," Goffer said. "It's not just about health, it's also about dignity."
- Reuters, 25 Aug 2008

For paralyzed people, there is really something 'uplifting' in being able to stand up and walk again. This new exoskeleton seems to be the answer.

It will be available commercially in two-years time (2010) and will cost about USD $20,000 --- nearly a million pesos here in the Philippines.

Only those paralyzed people with excess money can avail of this wonderful contraption.
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