Hayden Allen hasn't walked in five years, but in this video, he's able to move around using a new type of exoskeleton called REX:
Called REX, short for "robotic exoskeleton", the legs weigh 38 kg (84lb) and are individually made for each user.
The first pair is expected to sell for $150,000 (£97,600) the equivalent cost of 20 standard wheelchairs.
The inventors claim that due to the upright and mobile nature of their creation, users will not suffer the burns, scrapes and bladder infections that can come with wheelchair use.
One of the great features of this design, as you can see in the video, is that it's fairly easy for a wheelchair user to mount the exoskeleton by him/herself.
http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Technology/Inventors-In-New-Zealand-Create-A-Pair-Of-Bionic-Legs-That-Could-Banish-The-Need-For-Wheelchairs/Article/201007315665822?lpos=Technology_Second_Home_Page_Article_Teaser_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_15665822_Inventors_In_New_Zealand_Create_A_Pair_Of_Bionic_Legs_That_Could_Banish_The_Need_For_Wheelchairs via DVICE
This exoskeleton definitely is a start.
If it is the first one on the market, it is a milestone.
But it also shows very clearly what improvements will have to be made before it becomes the handy tool that really is needed before we'll see that on the streets:
- Less cost
- Less bulkyness (try to take one of these in your car to use it elsewhere...)
- way more speed (just waaaaait a seccccccc- I'm getting there ---- hopefully before closing-time or even this day still...........)
- More battery endurance
This thing looks too slow to be practical for significant walking, but hopefully that's an easy fix!