ReWalk Robotic Legs

Nancy Anderson
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Recently, the ReWalk robotic exoskeleton from Agro Medical Technologies has been getting a lot of press, appearing in Newsweek articles, and on an episode of Glee. Rightfully so: It may very well be the first commercially-available product to give walking mobility back to people who’ve been injured and confined to a wheelchair.

Yes, there have been others, notably prototype products from Japanese industrial concerns, but ReWalk is the lightest and most flexible of these products I’ve seen to date. Previously, they’ve been much bulkier, or required a tether to a power source, but ReWalk is self-contained, and is able to operate for an entire day on a single charge. Where it is a real departure from those that come before it is in how it works: Gait patterns are triggered in the leg units by a microprocessor that monitors and analyzes movements in the torso of the wearer. Essentially, the user becomes part of the process of walking, shifting the focus of their lives from one bound by a wheelchair to the relative freedom of someone on crutches.

It is not, however, a miracle. ReWalk is the the product of Agro designers, including Amit Goffer, a paraplegic himself, who’ve dedicated themselves to bringing this device to people that desperately need it. It is the result of dedication, hard work, and scientific understanding as applied through engineering. It is not yet available in any market, or to any distributor, but clearly Agro is seeking to garner attention for the device, likely ahead of a commercial release. But most importantly, it’s making a difference in people’s lives; an excellent motivating reason to get into engineering in the first place.

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Mike Wrightly is mostly diesel fumes and duct tape; he grew up around heavy equipment, and holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering.

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