The ReWalk exoskeleton suit which paralysed equestrian Claire Lomas used to walk the London Marathon course is now commercially available in Europe for personal use.
Argo Medical Technologies says it has established Argo Medical Technologies GmbH to serve as the European centre of operations to support the launch and to provide ongoing service to customers.
Argo executives announced the European launch at Rehacare, an international trade fair for rehabilitation, prevention, integration and self-determined living.
Several ReWalk users demonstrated the technology to fellow attendees and potential candidates for this groundbreaking technology.
“The ReWalk personal system is now being utilized in everyday life in Germany, Italy, Israel and the United Kingdom,” Argo chief executive Larry Jasinski said.
“We now have 10 rehabilitation centres with training systems in five European countries and plan to continue to add more locations.
“This launch is an important step to make the ReWalk available to anyone who wants one.”
Lomas, the first person to take home the ReWalk for daily use, discussed her experiences using the system at home and in other routine activities.
Lomas, from Leicestershire, was injured in 2007 during an eventing accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down.
In April 2012, she used the ReWalk to walk the London Marathon course over a 16-day period, and in doing so raised more than £200,000 for spine injury research.
As a result, Lomas was chosen to light the celebration cauldron in Trafalgar Square to kick-off the 2012 Paralympics in London.
“This extraordinary technology allowed me to complete the entire marathon course,” she said, “but the ability it has given me in my daily life, to look out my kitchen window, walk with my daughter or to go to the pub and stand to speak with everyone at eye level are moments that I can now have.”
The ReWalk is designed to give those with lower limb disabilities, such as paraplegia, an experience that is as close to natural walking as possible.
The exoskeleton suit uses a patented technology with motorised legs that power knee and hip movement.
Battery-powered for all-day use, ReWalk is controlled by on-board computers and motion sensors, restoring self-initiated walking without needing tethers or switches to begin stepping.
It controls movement using subtle changes in centre 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 walking. The suit also sits, stands, allows turning and has the ability to climb and descend stairs.
Argo Medical Technologies was founded in 2001 in Israel, It is now an international company with bases in the US, Germany and Israel.
More information: http://www.argomedtec.com/