There are now a number of powered exoskeletons either on the market or in development, all of which allow people who lack the use of their legs to walk in an upright position. The ReWalk device is without doubt the best-known, having been commercially available since 2012. This week, ReWalk Robotics announced the sixth version of the product, which is reportedly better-fitting, faster and less bulky than its predecessors.
Like the previous ReWalk exoskeletons, the new Personal 6.0 model is worn outside the clothing, and is attached to the user via leg braces and a harness. Sensors in the device detect subtle shifts in the user’s center of gravity and upper-body movements, and translate those into movement of its motorized leg joints – crutches are still required in order to maintain balance.
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One of the things that sets the 6.0 apart, however, is a more precise custom-fit system. Each unit is built according to individual users' measurements, better aligning its joints with their hips, knees and ankles.
Additionally, it now has a top walking speed of 2.6 km/h (1.6 mph). According to the company, this is faster than that of any other exoskeleton.
Finally, the battery-containing "backpack" used on previous models has been moved lower, removing weight from users' shoulders. This allows for more upper-body clothing choices and ease of movement, plus the resulting changes in the strapping and padding make the exoskeleton easier to put on and take off.
The ReWalk Personal 6.0 is available now, priced at US$77,500.
Source: ReWalk RoboticsView gallery - 6 images