A paralysed Israeli entrepreneur' invention 'robotic trousers' could help paraplegics walk again.
Amit Goffer was paralysed in a car crash in 1997 and immediately set out to invent a device - 'ReWalk': robotic trousers that use sensors and motors to allow paralysed patients to stand, walk and even climb stairs. He founded a company, Argo Medical Technologies, to commercialise it.
The device can help paraplegics to stand and walk - using crutches for stability - when they lean forward and move their upper body in different ways.
It has to be worn outside of clothing and consists of leg braces outfitted with motion sensors and motorised joints that respond to subtle changes in upper-body movement and shifts in balance.
After several years of clinical trials in Israel and the United States, units will go on sale in January to rehabilitation centres around the world.
When operated, it makes clanging robotic sounds, like the hero of the 1980s cult movie 'Robocop.'
"ReWalk is a man-machine device. The machine cannot walk by itself. The user cannot walk by himself. Only when they are together they can walk," the Daily Mail quoted Oren Tamari, Argo's chief operating officer, as saying.
He said regular usage of the device, which costs about 100,000 dollars, would prevent costly complications that often arise in people who can't walk, including pressure sores and urinary, digestive, circulatory, and cardiovascular problems.
However, Goffer is paralysed from the neck down, so he himself hasn't been able to use his creation. But he said the company is working on a version for quadriplegics such as himself.