Robotic Suit Helps Paralyzed Take Big Steps

Motorized exoskeleton enables walking, bending, climbing
By Paul Stinson,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2009 8:14 PM CST
In a photo from the inventor's website, a user walks in a ReWalk robotic suit.   (Argo Medical Technologies)
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(Newser) – People paralyzed from the waist down may soon be parking their wheelchairs in favor of a robotic walking suit, CNN reports. Designed by Dr. Amit Goffer, a disabled engineer in Israel, the lightweight exoskeleton of motorized leg supports and motion sensors enables users to walk around. "I don't have to look from the bottom up," one user said. "Now I am eye to eye with everybody."

Used in tandem with crutches, the ReWalk enables paraplegics to walk, bend, and climb stairs. But its deeper purpose is about respect: Dignity remains the "the No. 1 problem" for people in wheelchairs, Goffer said. Still in trials, ReWalks will soon be tested in the US and Europe, and could be on sale next year—with a price tag comparable to the yearly cost of a wheelchair.