Man Stuns Scientists, Morphs into Real-Life RoboCop
Two years ago, life for Errol Samuels came to a crashing halt.
When a roof collapsed, he suffered irreversible spinal damage that left him a paraplegic. He thought he’d never walk again… but thanks to a stunning innovation, he’s back on his feet. It’s called ReWalk – a state-of-the-art robotic exoskeleton that could ultimately render wheelchairs obsolete. Customized to fit Samuels’ body, he controls the skeleton with a device on his wrist. His commands are then fed to a computer on his back – and the skeleton moves accordingly.
It’s challenging, though…
As Dr. Alan Kozlowski, Assistant Professor of Rehabilitation at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, notes, “It’s learning to walk again, so initially, we’ll help them a lot. We’ll physically move them into that position, so they get a sense of how to move with the device. Then we’ll decrease how much assistance we give to help them reach that balance point.”
A Real-Life RoboCop
With determination and practice, Samuels says it’s getting easier to operate the skeleton. And it’s worth the effort, since it’s giving him newfound independence. It can even help him climb steps.
“I feel like RoboCop!”
From here, Kozlowski says, “As the technology evolves, I can see these things becoming a replacement for wheelchairs. Or they might be integrated as a combination device, where the exoskeleton is part of a wheelchair, but when you want to get up and walk, you leave the wheels behind and away you go.”
He expects ReWalk to be approved for home use in the United States, offering paraplegics mobility they never thought possible.
Your eyes in the Pipeline,