ReWalk robotic exoskeleton clears FDA

[grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”130″ /]Finally one of the several exoskeletons under development to aid paraplegics to walk has gained FDA approval for its ‘personal’ version for use at home. The Argo ReWalk [TTA 21 Nov 13 and 2011 coverage] enables mobility for many paraplegics and mimics natural gait through wearable brace supports, motion sensors and a computer-based control system. Crutches are used for additional stability. It also has a rehabilitation version for clinical settings. The importance of mobility, even if limited, cannot be exaggerated. Wheelchair-only mobility can lead to muscle deterioration, blood clots and heart conditions. As part of the de novo clearance, ReWalk will be doing a post-market study for FDA to determine adverse events. One of the early adopters is Captain Derek Herrera, who works for the Marine Special Operations Command and whose unit is being donated by the MARSOC Foundation.  ReWalk release and website. Medgadget, MedCityNews, NBC.

Exoskeleton to aid paraplegic in charity walk (US)

This past Sunday, architect Robert Woo walked a mile in NYC’s Riverside Park for Generosity NYC 5K. Now that would not be remarkable at all except that Mr. Woo is a paraplegic, and he is walking that mile with the aid of an Argo ReWalk exoskeleton. He and his ReWalk-equipped teammates are raising funds as Team ReWalk to aid the Bronx Medical Veterans Research Foundation/James J. Peters VA Medical Center’s Exoskeletal-Assisted Walking Program. Mr. Woo’s story is a memorable and courageous one from the time of his injury in a horrific construction-related accident six years ago; more in Paralyzed By Seven Tons Of Steel, Man Now Walks With A Bionic Suit (Gothamist). Video in this local CBS News clip. This is certainly the most developed version of an exoskeleton and robotics to enable paraplegics to walk, yet it is still not easy and requires specialized training; most exoskeletons to date have concentrated on assisting lower body movement. Hat tip to Donald Andrews of New York-Presbyterian/Lev El Medical via LinkedIn Groups.