Exoskeleton helps paraplegics walk

A worn exoskeleton driven by electric motors enables paraplegics to stand, walk and climb stairs

The ReWalk has been designed by consultancy Taga for Argo Medical Technologies, both companies based in Israel. It is a light wearable brace support with DC electric motors at the joints, rechargeable batteries, an array of sensors, and a computer based control system. Users wear a back pack device and braces on their legs, and select the activity they want from a remote control. A sensor on the chest determines the torso's angle and guides the legs to move backward or forward to maintain balance.

Taga has standardised on SolidWorks as a design tool and used CosmosXpress to test the strength and durability of different load bearing components to ensure the exoskeleton would hold up when users bend, stand up or climb stairs. The ReWalk is currently undergoing clinical trials. The company expects it to be ready for general availability in 2009

Tom Shelley

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