A mechanical exoskeleton device to help paraplegic people walk has been cleared for marketing in the U.S.
The FDA on June 26 approved the ReWalk exoskeleton for commercial sales after testing it on 30 people. It is the first wearable, motorized device designed to help people with spinal injuries walk to be approved in the U.S. It is made by Argo Medical Technologies, founded in Israel in 2001.
"Along with physical therapy, training, and assistance from a caregiver, these individuals may be able to use these devices to walk again in their homes and in their communities." Christy Foreman, FDA Office of Device Evaluation director
ReWalk affixes a metal brace to a person's legs and part of the upper body with straps around the torso, and is meant to be used with crutches. Motors at the hip, knee and ankle joints assist with sitting, standing and walking and are controlled by a device on the wearer's wrist.
34-year-old Claire Lomas wore a ReWalk to walk the London Marathon in May 2012 (she was then 32 years old), making her the first person to finish a marathon while wearing a bionic suit. It took her 17 days. She is paralyzed from the chest down.
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