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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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Seems like a great device
By jbartabas on 8/26/2008 1:16:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The suit is expected to go on sale for around $20,000


Wow, that's relatively cheap actually! :) I was expecting it to cost much more ...

quote:
In the current version crutches must be used to assist with balance; a more advanced model is eventually expected to dispense with this requirement.


Unfortunately that part won't be a piece of cake :-(




RE: Seems like a great device
By acejj26 on 8/26/2008 1:21:40 PM , Rating: 3
maybe this is where Dean Kamen can use his expertise gained with the Segway to help out. such an addition to this skeleton would further mankind more than he hoped his Segway would.


RE: Seems like a great device
By 4play on 8/26/2008 1:35:06 PM , Rating: 2
You beat me to it, this plus segways could be the next big revolution in mobility for disabled.


RE: Seems like a great device
By murphyslabrat on 8/26/2008 1:37:12 PM , Rating: 3
Either that, or alcoholism becomes his segway into disability. *_^


RE: Seems like a great device
By Suntan on 8/26/2008 3:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
I believe I read originally that the segway design was intended to be used for a 4 wheeled wheelchair that could articulate up on 2 wheels so a handicapped person could move along at eye level with other adults when the terrain wasn’t too rough. Also, so that it could travel up stairs.

Basically, he couldn’t get the corporations that subsidize wheelchair purchases (Easter Seals, etc. ??) to add it to their list of acceptable chairs, or insurance companies to accept it so he didn’t think it would pan out. He did the Segway to make some money off of the tech while trying to get the tech going for the wheelchair market.

I could be wrong, but I remember reading or hearing that somewhere.

-Suntan


RE: Seems like a great device
By Aeonic on 8/27/2008 2:48:37 PM , Rating: 2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBOT
That's the wheelchair. It's pretty cool, I thought it was more innovative than the Segway.


RE: Seems like a great device
By Suntan on 8/26/2008 1:24:57 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
Unfortunately that part won't be a piece of cake :-(


Not as far off as you'd think.

A little video compliments of DARPA... ...pretty impressive if you ask me, just from the sensor technology alone.

http://www.dvorak.org/blog/?p=16681

-Suntan


RE: Seems like a great device
By jbartabas on 8/26/2008 1:33:55 PM , Rating: 2
It's a quadruped.

Asimo is doing pretty well though. But that's a slightly different topic.


RE: Seems like a great device
By Suntan on 8/26/2008 3:12:34 PM , Rating: 3
Give Asimo a kick to the face while he’s walking on ice and see how well he does.

4 legs or 2 that sensor technology and processing is at another level than the “Mackerana Dancing” robot.

-Suntan


RE: Seems like a great device
By VashHT on 8/26/2008 3:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
Agree with you completely, the way that BigDog robot reacts and stabilizes itself is totally unreal.


RE: Seems like a great device
By japlha on 8/27/2008 2:10:55 PM , Rating: 2
Have someone kick you in the face while walking on ice and see how well you do.


By DeepBlue1975 on 9/1/2008 5:23:43 PM , Rating: 2
That demonstration is simply amazing!

I've been thinking for several years that the ultimate evolution of an ATV should be one with limbs instead of wheels.

On extremely complicated terrains, you don't need the speed as much as you need the ability to adapt to changing conditions and hostile conditions.

When they can make things like this but with articulated feet (3 articulations on each feet would be great), we'll be watching at the ultimate ATV.


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