Learn to…ReWalk? Learning to walk again may seem like a pipe-dream for anyone bound to a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury. Based on information gathered from several studies and reported by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are close to 300,000 people just in the US who are living with a spinal cord injury in 2012. About half of those individuals are paraplegic. Today, there is hope for paraplegics around the world thanks to Amit Goffer. He is an engineer from Israel, who in 1997 had an accident that left him a quadriplegic. Through his misfortune and expertise, he founded Argo in 2001. Argo is an international company that developed an exoskeleton called ReWalk.
ReWalk is a device made up of struts linked by actuator motors that is strapped to the legs and waist, and a backpack. Each part contains sensors that feed information to a computer in the backpack, which tells the actuators what to do. The user also has a pair of crutches. Paraplegics don’t have to dream about walking again, it can become a reality with this groundbreaking, assistive technology. Argo offers the ReWalk Personal System, which is currently available in Europe and waiting for FDA approval in the US. ReWalk Rehabilitation is designed for the rehab environment and is available in centers in Europe, Israel, and the US.
People are talking about ReWalk. It’s hitting news waves around the globe. Just recently, Argo made an announcement unveiling the newest generation of its ReWalk Rehabilitation device, the 2.0 system.
ARGO Medical Technologies Unveils Advancement of its Exoskeleton Technology With Launch of ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0
Marlborough, MA – January 22, 2013 – ARGO Medical Technologies has unveiled the newest generation of its ReWalk Rehabilitation exoskeleton that enables individuals with spinal cord injuries the ability to walk again. The 2.0 system is designed to make it easier to treat multiple individuals each day, it also has new software features that support beginner users and new sizing that allow each system to fit a broader range of patients.
ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0 Highlights:
- Rapid Exchange: A new slider adjustment mechanism accelerates and simplifies the process of sizing for individual users with a new sizing scale and a simple “click” that indicates the alignment of joints.
- Universal Sizing: The new model fits a wide range of heights in just one device. Clinicians can easily adjust the unit to fit users between 160cm -190cm in height.
- Beginner Gait Mode: Newly enhanced software has improved the learning process to support and transition new users as they learn to take their first steps in the ReWalk.
“I am very excited to launch this new generation of exoskeleton technology. We have learned from the everyday use by clinicians and the experience of their patients and believe as a company it is essential we continue to enhance this technology to meet the needs of those working with it.” said Larry Jasinski, ARGO CEO. “The ReWalk Rehabilitation 2.0 offers an experience that is very close to natural walking and this new model will improve the learning curve to allow ReWalkers to quickly gain comfort as they begin to walk independently.”
ARGO currently offers two ReWalk models – the ReWalk Personal, currently available in Europe and pending FDA review in the US; and the ReWalk Rehabilitation which is now available in Europe, Israel and the United States. Both models are designed to provide a customized user experience with on-board computers and motion sensors that restore self-initiated walking without needing tethers or switches to begin movement. The ReWalk uses patented technology with motorized legs that power knee and hip movement. It controls movement using subtle changes in center of gravity, mimics natural gait and provides functional walking speed. A forward tilt of the upper body is sensed by the system, which triggers the first step. Repeated body shifting generates a sequence of steps, which allows natural and efficient walking.
“Training in the ReWalk has changed my life in a way I did not believe possible after I became paralyzed,” said Sgt. Theresa Hannigan, U.S. Army Retired and ReWalk user. “When I use the ReWalk I regain my independence; I have been able to walk a 1 mile road race, and stand up hug my friends and family.”
Video Source: YouTube