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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Israel: Helping Paraplegics Walk Again (Via Exo-Skeletons)

(Hat Tip: Gizmodo and Medgadget)

While most people on planet Earth take such items as walking, running and standing for granted, their are many people unable to do these basic three actions due to being paralyzed (whether from birth or from an incident).

However one company called Argo Medical Technologies has developed an exoskeleton that may enable those paralyzed from the legs down (also known as paraplegics) to finally ditch their wheelchairs for good.

(Israel 21st Century) ReWalk is an Israeli-developed quasi-robotic ambulation system developed by ARGO Medical Technologies that provides a viable, upright day-to-day alternative to wheelchair users. The wearable upright mobility system was specially designed for individuals with lower-limb disabilities. By restoring upright mobility, the developers say, ReWalk delivers benefits on the health, economic, and societal levels.

"What we want to do is have the person wake up in the morning, put on clothes, put on the ReWalk, go to work and go throughout the day, wearing it," Dr. Amit Goffer PhD, founder and director of Argo, and ReWalk's developer, tells ISRAEL21c. [...]

ReWalk comprises a light wearable brace support suit which integrates DC motors at the joint, rechargeable batteries, an array of sensors and a computer-based control system. It fits the body snugly to detect upper body movements, which are used to initiate and maintain the walking process. Wearers also use crutches for stability and safety. "The main issue was triggering and marinating gait. We tried it on three paraplegics the first time and the results gave me the confidence that it worked," recalls Goffer. 

This technology was ironically conceived by Goffer, who himself is a quadriplegic after a terrible accident. Even though he is unable to use the technology he built (mainly because he is unable to use his hands), this exo-skeleton may help pave the way for people like him to eventually walk again (without the need of cell therepy).

Although ReWalk is currently not available for the market--at least for Americans (as it has to be approved by the FDA), this product has the potential of enabling paraplegics to help live a normal life again.

Note: Users interested in contacing the company about this product can visit this webpage.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your vision,passion to help others,best of luck with ReWalk.I hope I get the chance to try one when its available in the USA..Walter Diaz manassas VA


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