The first FDA-approved motorized exoskeleton for personal use called ReWalk will soon give paraplegics the ability to walk, stand, sit, and climb stairs. ReWalk is the first device of its kind available for widespread personal use in Europe, and now in the US, for those who have suffered spinal cord injuries (SCI).
“Innovative devices such as ReWalk go a long way towards helping individuals with spinal cord injuries gain some mobility,” Christy Foreman, of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a press release.
ReWalk has fitted leg braces, a back support piece and motion sensors, with a backpack battery and digital wrist controller. Users will need to have some upper body strength in order to wear the exoskeleton and to use the walking sticks.
As users use the device more, ReWalk learns specific habits and reproduces the pattern of movement to accommodate for each individual.
“The person walks the system, the system does not walk them," said Dr. Amit Goffer, developer of ReWalk. "The users are in control — when they want to sit, they sit, when then want to stand and walk, they do so.”
Users would also need to meet a set of criteria in order to purchase ReWalk, as well has undergo a training program for themselves and a caretaker.
“ReWalking is much more than walking,” said Jeff Dykan, ReWalk’s Chairman of the Board. “ReWalk provides paralyzed individuals with the ability to stand and walk, to look someone in the eye, to hug and be hugged. These are simple acts which many of our ReWalkers thought they would never be able to do again. When you take that into account in addition to the health benefits, it underscores just how monumental a day this is for the SCI community here in the U.S.”
Learn more about the ReWalk Exoskeleton in the video below.