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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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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.


"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad











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