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Former Israeli Paratrooper Radi Kaiof uses the suit to climb stairs  (Source: Reuters)
Clinical trials underway; suit expected to go on sale soon

A new powered exoskeleton is enabled the disabled to walk again. Created by a small Israeli startup, the Iron Man-like "ReWalk" suit is already making converts among those who have worn it. Former Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof, paralyzed in 1988, wears the suit walking around the streets of Haifa.  "I never dreamed I would walk again", he says.

"Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below".

The suit consists of motorized leg supports, a body sensors package, and a battery backpack. It operates via a remote control wristband, which contains various settings: sit, stand, walk, or climb. Once the user selects the appropriate action, they lean forward to activate the body sensors. In the current version crutches must be used to assist with balance; a more advanced model is eventually expected to dispense with this requirement.

Clinical trials are now underway in Israel's Sheba Medica Center.

The suit was invented by Israeli engineer Amit Goffer, who ironically was himself paralyzed in an accident in 1997. "It raises people out of their wheelchair and lets them stand up straight," explains Goffer, "It's not just about health, it's also about dignity." Goffer founded Argo Medical Technologies to develop and market the suit.

Argo's Chief Operating Officer Oren Tamari says that, while other agencies such as the US military are also developing powered exoskeletons, none besides the ReWalk will be operable by disabled people.

The suit is expected to go on sale for around $20,000, about the price of the most sophisticated wheelchairs now available.

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about time
By headbox on 8/26/2008 1:00:06 PM , Rating: -1
Too bad modern medicine invests billions into erectile dysfunction, plastic surgery, and abortion instead of actually helping people.

RE: about time
By michal1980 on 8/26/2008 1:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
why are people always so closed minded. Why is it allways one and not the other.

its not like we aren't spending billions on research for other things as well.

the fact that we have enough doctors left over to work on things other then just life threatening diease should be reassuring.

RE: about time
By Brandon Hill on 8/26/2008 1:06:49 PM , Rating: 3
I didn't realize that abortion was something that was under heavy investment. Isn't pretty much a routine procedure nowadays?

**Regardless, pulls out popcorn to watch fireworks**

RE: about time
By JasonMick on 8/26/2008 1:20:12 PM , Rating: 2
Brandon, you mean you haven't heard of the millions of dollars invested in developing the Baby Extractor 3000?? Why, it's 3000 percent more efficient in extracting babies!

But seriously, I think most medical funds go to *ahem* serious research, like cancer, aids, diabetes, and genetic disorders, to name a few.

By the way, very nice article, Michael, I find exoskeleton tech to be a really fascinating field.

RE: about time
By arazok on 8/26/2008 2:03:32 PM , Rating: 4
The baby extractor 3000 would be for automated c-sections. For abortions, that would be the baby Terminator 3000, known for the slogan “It’s not a tumor”.

RE: about time
By Diesel Donkey on 8/26/2008 1:09:30 PM , Rating: 5
Well, there are different ways to stand up, and they're all important to a man's dignity!

RE: about time
By weskurtz0081 on 8/26/2008 1:10:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why don't you do the DT readers a favor and post the amount of money spent on each one of those in comparison to what is spent on other things, like a cure for AIDS, or finding ways to eradicate cancer.

Judging from your post, clearly you must already have this type of information at hand.

RE: about time
By Misty Dingos on 8/26/2008 2:13:43 PM , Rating: 4
Plastic surgery grew out of the field of medicine that helped people deal with the horrifying realities of catastrophic disease and injury. Hardly a flippant field of medical endeavor. What some doctors do with their talent and training is up to them. But because of their skill if your mother had breast cancer they can reconstruct much of the damage caused by the treatment for that disease.

Abortions have been performed (with varying skill and success) since the dawn of mankind. While I am certain that many would like there never to be another abortion, wishing for a utopia that can’t exist is hubristic fantasy.

Erectile dysfunction is a real medical condition. The first truly effective and non-invasive treatment for it was found when the drug was being tested for its original intended use, high blood pressure. And because of its widespread use and availability premature infants have a chance to grow to become adults.

But I am sure that you would have a problem with that because it is no doubt in your mind if god wanted that child to live they wouldn’t need that drug to breathe.

Nor unfortunately could any of these doctors give you a heart to feel for other people or a mind to grasp that not every thing is a simplistic as you would like.

RE: about time
By FITCamaro on 8/26/2008 4:17:33 PM , Rating: 2
Extremely good post.

RE: about time
By FITCamaro on 8/26/08, Rating: 0
RE: about time
By Xavitar on 8/26/2008 9:05:55 PM , Rating: 1
On a more serious note, drug companies spend billions a year on lobbyists that help railroad useless and dangerous drugs through FDA approval and secure federal research grants .

Fixed that for you.

At least they pay taxes, unlike those pesky foreign drug companies... The Mexican and Colombian cartels.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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