Dating a parapalegic
"Our bodies are meant to be up and moving, not sitting around in a wheelchair, stagnant." While braces have been used to help people with walking problems for a long time, Mr Bender said the difference between them and the Ekso was similar to the difference between a bicycle and a motorbike.Like anything unusual, be that a bike or a pair of skis, users have to learn how to make the Ekso work.The project was originally funded by the American military interested in giving soldiers superhuman strength and ability on the battlefield, said Eythor Bender, chief executive officer of Ekso Bionics, based in Berkeley, California.But about five years ago the developers realised the legs had "huge potential, especially for people with spinal injuries".A world that I never imagined I would be a part of at such a young age.
However, at £100,000 a pair, they won't come cheap."In the home environment we are talking about making it more and more available," promised the businessman.They began working with rehabilitation clinics to tailor them for paraplegics, believing they could create a device that predicted a person's walking intentions based on movements in the lower back.Mr Bender said the Ekso represented the first real alternative for paraplegics in terms of mobility since the invention of the wheelchair, "which, believe it or not, has been around for 500 years".
They first start with another person helping initiate the steps themselves, before striding out alone.
He said the Ekso would be available in Britain next year - firstly to rehabilitation centres and then to individuals.