Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Paralyzed woman uses bionic suit to complete London Marathon

The Verge posted an article this week concerning the ReWalk exoskeleton that I wrote about recently. A portion of the article is shown below. Follow the link above to watch a short video on her walk to the finish line. Her gait, even if a little slow, looks almost natural.

This is amazing to me.  I am so impressed with the desire of this woman to take on the task and then complete it … taking sixteen days … wow!

Technology is getting those of us with living with some sort of a disability closer to leading more productive lives. The reason I write about these technology improvements is because it gives all of us ‘hope’ while we patiently wait for the treatment or cure.

“A paralyzed British woman made history on Tuesday, when she became the first person to ever complete a marathon while wearing a bionic suit. Claire Lomas, 32, finished the 26.2-mile race 16 days after it began, with the help of the ReWalk exoskeleton developed by Amit Goffer.

With the ReWalk, Lomas was able to stand, walk, and climb stairs, using a pair of crutches and a set of wrist strap buttons that determine her movement. The exoskeleton's motion sensors and onboard computer system are used to detect shifts in weight and balance, which trigger movements in its lower limbs. These movements are executed by small motors, and the entire system is powered by a four-pound battery stored in a user's backpack.

Unfortunately, Lomas' name won't appear in the London Marathon's official results, nor will she be eligible to receive a medal, since she didn't complete the race on the same day it started. That's only a slight drawback, however, since the former chiropractor and mother-of-one has already raised more than £80,000 ($129,000) for her charity, and seems justifiably elated with her achievement. "There were times when I questioned whether I would make it when I was training," Lomas told AFP. "Once I started, I just took each day as it came and every step got me a step closer."

If interested, here are three links to earlier posts on the ReWalk:

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