Robotics

ReWalk robotic exoskeleton to go on sale in 2011

The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs
The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs
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The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs
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The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs
The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton
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The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton
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The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton
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The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton

The wheel may be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life for the wheelchair-bound that much of the modern world is built for the upright – from deli counter-tops and store shelves to stairs and escalators. When Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer was left paralyzed after a car accident in 1997 he set about creating “robotic trousers” to replace a wheelchair. The fruits of his labor are now set to help others with his ReWalk robotic exoskelton set to go on sale from the start of 2011.

Like the REX robotic exoskeleton, ReWalk is a wearable, motorized robotic device that is worn outside the clothing. The motorized legs, which are held in place by leg braces and a harness worn around the waist and shoulders, are powered by a rechargeable battery providing 3.5 hours of use located in a backpack along with a computer. However, unlike the REX exoskeleton which is controlled by a joystick, the ReWalk uses motion sensors to detect the wearer’s movements and translate them into movement of the units’ motorized joints, similar to the eLEGS exoskeleton developed at UC Berkeley.

Unlike the robotic exoskeletons being developed mainly for military use, such as Lockheed Martin’s HULC and Raytheon’s XOS robotic exoskeletons, which are designed to amplify the wearer’s movements giving them increased strength, speed and endurance, ReWalk is controlled by detecting the subtle movements in the user’s center of gravity and upper-body movements.

For this reason the user needs crutches to assist with their balance when using ReWalk, which means it is only suitable for those with movement in their hands and shoulders. Unfortunately this means Goffer, who is a quadriplegic, isn’t able to use his creation. However, Argo Medical Technologies – the company he founded to commercialize the device – is working on a version suitable for quadriplegics.

The ReWalk weighs 15 kg (33 lbs.) and is designed to serve as a physical training device for those undergoing rehabilitation. By maintaining users upright on a daily basis it also helps alleviate many of the health-related problems associated with long-tern wheelchair use such as urinary, respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive problems.

The ReWalk has been undergoing clinical trials in Israel and the U.S. for several years and Argo Medical Technologies now plans to start selling the device to rehabilitation centers around the world from January 2011 for a cost of around US$100,000.

Via Daily Mail

7 comments
Green_Laser
Here\'s the video link I sent in to Gizmag in mid Nov. which is also in the Daily Mail link from the article posted Dec. 4th: http://fun.mivzakon.co.il/video/cmp/8343/%C3%A9%C3%B9%C3%B8%C3%A0%C3%AC.html
Firehawk70
Did anyone see this on Glee last night? Go to Hulu and watch the latest Christmas episode. Start around 38:00 to see it. (disclaimer, the actor on the show actually can walk)
Facebook User
Thank you for your mention of the Rex Bionics robotic exoskeleton in this article. Having the privilege of working for a company that makes robotic legs, I can confirm there's nothing quite like seeing someone who previously could not walk, or has not walked for years, do just that! You've also pointed out in your article that Rex robotic legs stand and move without using crutches. We believe this will be an especially important design feature for people who may not have the upper body strength to use other devices, or for people who simply want to keep their hands free while standing. Regards, Thomas Mitchell www.rexbionics.com
Ron Felger
My son who had not walked for years and been in a whellchair cannot afford this fine product. How does someone like him who does not have $100,000.00 abtain this product for trial purposes or otherwise? Please reply if you have a solution.
Facebook User
good day! i have a 4 year old son who has lumbar meningocele. the doctors said that he will be wheelchair bound. i gained hope after seeing \"rewalk\". but unfortunately i cant afford this product. is there anyway that you can help me. i beleive that my son will have a better future if he will be given a chance to walk with the help of this product. thank you
Facebook User
@Ron Felger I can\'t speak on behalf of the bionics industry, but I do know that the price of this piece of equipment will decrease over time as the technology matures. In around ~10 yrs I would expect them to be more affordable.
Naoko Ota
How can I buy ReWalk? Does anyone know how to buy it? Please let me know.
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