ReWalk Exoskeleton Allows Paraplegic To Walk The Streets And Stairs

ReWalk Robotics has an exoskeleton that is designed to allow paraplegics to walk again. That exoskeleton is called the ReWalk Personal 6.0. The man strapped on the exoskeleton and used it to walk up and down the streets of New York City. ReWalk says that it always intended the exoskeleton to be used in the community and that it didn't want to create a device only usable in physical therapy settings.

An older version of the ReWalk system was cleared by the FDA for use by people with spinal cord injuries in clinical and personal settings. It's the only exoskeleton so far to receive that wide-ranging clearance. So far, ReWalk has sold exoskeletons to 66 people with 11 of those people having received reimbursement from insurance companies.

ReWalk competitor Esko Bionics only has approval for exoskeletons to be used in clinical settings. ReWalk 6.0 shares basic functionality with prior versions of the system. Hardware updates in version 6.0 allow the leg braces to be slimmer and the support straps distribute weight more evenly around the body.

Earlier versions of the ReWalk exoskeleton had braces inside and outside the leg; the new version only has braces on the outside of the leg. The new design also has abdominal supports that allow the user to bend to put on the legs himself without fear of falling over. Software updates also make the gait smoother and has an improved mode for going up and down stairs. The stair mode remains unapproved by regulators in the US. ReWalk 6.0 sells for $77,000.

SOURCE: IEEE