High-Tech Suit Gives Hope to Paralyzed

Israel's ReWalk exoskeleton lets patients paralyzed from the waist down stand upright
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2008 2:53 PM CDT
The ReWalk exoskeleton.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A mechanical exoskeleton developed by an Israeli firm allows paraplegics to stand upright and walk, the BBC reports. The ReWalk device consists of a backpack, leg braces and a wrist controller. Once a mode is selected, such as climbing stairs, leaning forward activates motors in the braces. “It lets people live at the upright level and make eye contact,” one health professional said.

The device is only feasible for patients “who still have good control over their hands and shoulders,” a doctor said, and “might not be any better than a wheelchair in terms of convenience.” Regardless, for one patient ReWalk was a revelation: “Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below.”