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“Will I ever walk again?”

October 11, 2011

It’s one of the first questions almost everybody asks after a spinal cord injury. For many years, the most honest answer was some version of a gentle “no.”

But no longer—these days the most accurate answer might involve exciting new research that is developing new robotic devices, called “exoskeletons” that fit over the legs and permit upright walking. They are battery powered and computer controlled.   Here is a look at two of them.

First is ReWalk, which was created by Argo Medical Technologies, an Israeli company. This video, made by the company, shows how the device enables wheelchair users to stand, walk, and even climb stairs. It was featured on a recent episode of the TV series “Glee,” and  is currently in clinical trials at the Moss Rehab Center of the Albert Einstein Hospital in Philadelphia.

 

eLEGS is also a wearable, artificially intelligent, bionic device that enables people with paralysis to stand up and walk again. The video below, also made by the company, shows its successful use by wheelchair users, including a woman injured 18 years ago. eLEGS is being developed by Berkeley Bionics, a California company.  It has a limited release scheduled for the end of 2011.

We want to hear what you think about these new devices. Would you use one? How would they help your life?  Please leave a reply below.

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