Goffer's robotic pants  (Source:
New device can prevent health complications such as digestive, cardiovascular, urinary and circulatory problems

An entrepreneur who was paralyzed in a car accident has invented robotic trousers with the intention of replacing the wheelchair, which could improve the quality of life for himself and others in a similar position. 

Amit Goffer, an Israeli entrepreneur who is paralyzed from the neck down due to a car crash in 1997, has created a new device that has the potential to replace wheelchairs by helping paralyzed humans stand and walk again. 

The device is called ReWalk, and it acts like a pair of robotic pants. It weighs 7 pounds, and has two leg braces with motorized joints and motion sensors. The braces are worn outside of clothing, and react to shifts in balance and upper-body movement. In addition, a harness is wrapped around the shoulders and waist of the patient to keep the device in place, and a computer and rechargeable three and a half hour battery are kept in a backpack laced into the harness. 

"ReWalk is a man-machine device," said Oren Tamari, chief operating officer of Argo Medical Technologies, which is a company Goffer started in order to commercialize the ReWalk. "The machine cannot walk by itself. The user cannot walk by himself. Only when they are together they can walk."

To use this device regularly, Goffer said it would cost $100,000. But the benefits would be the elimination of health complications that can occur in those who cannot walk such as digestive, cardiovascular, urinary and circulatory problems as well as pressure sores. 

But Goffer cannot utilize his own invention because hand and arm movement is required to use the ReWalk, and Goffer is a quadriplegic. The good news is, his company, Argo Medical Technologies, is working to alter the ReWalk so that it can be used on quadriplegics as well. But for now, those who are paralyzed from the waist down can and have benefitted from its convenience. 

"When I use the ReWalk I feel like I am maintaining my body," said Radi Kaiuf, a ReWalk evaluator who was paralyzed during his Israeli military service in 1988. "It is like taking a car to the garage - it feels great.

"I have a three-year-old daughter. The first time she saw me walking, she was silent for the first few minutes and then she said, 'Daddy you are tall.' It made me feel so good, like I was soaring."

The ReWalk has undergone years of clinical trials in both Israel and the United States, and now, it will go on sale in January. It will be made available to rehabilitation centers worldwide. 

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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