April 8, 2010
"Israeli exoskeleton suit enables paralyzed people to walk."
After being paralyzed for the past 20 years, Radi Kaiof began to walk down a street in Israel to the sound of a dim mechanical hum. That was the sound of an electronic exoskeleton, developed by a small Israeli high-tech company, propelling the 41 year old paraplegic down the street with a proud expression on his face. The device, called ReWalk, is the brain child of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies (and a Drexel Alumnus). While ReWalk helps paraplegics, people paralyzed below the waist, to walk, stand and climb stairs, for Goffer, the device has a much more important impact on the user. Goffer himself was paralyzed in an accident in 1997, but he cannot use his own invention because he does not have full function of his arms. The product, slated for commercial sales in 2010, is not cheap. The company said it will cost as much as the more sophisticated wheelchairs on the market, which sell for about 20,000 U.S. dollars. The system consists of motorized leg supports, body sensors and a backpack containing a computerized control box and rechargeable batteries.
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