Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

ReWalk robotic exoskeleton to go on sale in 2011

By

December 6, 2010

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

Image Gallery (4 images)

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

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
Tags
7 Comments

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

Green_Laser
7th December, 2010 @ 10:11 am PST

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)

Firehawk70
8th December, 2010 @ 07:41 am PST

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

Facebook User
9th December, 2010 @ 01:32 pm PST

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.

Ron Felger
17th January, 2011 @ 09:33 am PST

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
1st April, 2011 @ 01:20 pm PDT

@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.

Facebook User
9th April, 2011 @ 08:34 am PDT

How can I buy ReWalk? Does anyone know how to buy it?

Please let me know.

Naoko Ota
4th August, 2012 @ 03:26 am PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 29,582 articles
Recent popular articles in Robotics
Product Comparisons