Israel-based ReWalk Robotics has put their ReWalk Personal 6.0 to the ultimate test– a paralyzed man strapped the exoskeleton suit on and walked through New York City’s midtown amid other pedestrians. While the suit garnered some stares, few people went out of their way to avoid the man, proving the suit’s ability to be integrated into daily, community life.
The ReWalk Personal 6.0 uses servos in the hips and knees to provide walking power, and accelerometers to detect when a user has shifted their weight and is ready to take another step. As an improvement to its predecessors the device has slimmed down, the support straps distribute weight more evenly and improve gait, and the battery pack has been reduced so that it can fit in a fanny pack. The device, which unlike its competitors is meant for home use, has different settings for sitting, standing, walking, and climbing stairs (though the stair mode has not yet been approved by US regulators). While the list price is quite expensive–$77,000, and unlikely to be covered by insurance–the device can vastly improve the quality of life for paralyzed patients.