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Published on Jun 9, 2009
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Israeli Exoskeleton Suit Enables Paralyzed People To Walk.flv
After being paralyzed for the past 20 years, Radi Kaiof began to walk down a street in Israel to the sound of a dim mechanical hum. That was the sound of an electronic exoskeleton, developed by a small Israeli high-tech company, propelling the 41 year old paraplegic down the street with a proud expression on his face. The device, called ReWalk, is the brain child of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies. While ReWalk helps paraplegics, people paralyzed below the waist, to walk, stand and climb stairs, for Goffer, the device has a much more important impact on the user. Goffer himself was paralyzed in an accident in 1997, but he cannot use his own invention because he does not have full function of his arms. The product, slated for commercial sales in 2010, is not cheap. The company said it will cost as much as the more sophisticated wheelchairs on the market, which sell for about 20,000 U.S. dollars. The system consists of motorized leg supports, body sensors and a backpack containing a computerized control box and rechargeable batteries. The user picks a setting with a remote control wrist band - stand, sit, walk, descend or climb - and then leans forward, activating the body sensors and setting the robotic legs in motion. The ReWalk is now in clinical trials in Tel Aviv's Sheba Medical Centre and will soon be used in trials at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in Pennsylvania. Goffer says his aim is not only to ease the lives of those strapped to wheelchairs but also to allow them to lead a 'normal' life. Yet for Radi Kaiof, who has not risen from his wheelchair for the past 20 years, the effects of ReWalk are not just normal, they are life-changing.08/26/08