Rex Bionics has launched Rex, a robotic exoskeleton consisting of a pair of robotic legs for wheelchair users, enabling them to stand up and walk. It can be used by anyone who can self-transfer and operate hand controls, with most users to-date having sustained spinal cord injury. Movement is controlled using a joystick and a control pad. Users need to be between 1.46m and 1.95m long, weigh less than 100kg and have a width of less than 380mm. Costs are still a bit high with an expected price of US$150,000 for which it will be available soon in New Zealand, with the rest of the world following by the middle of 2011. See the videos below for a demonstration of its capabilities.
Potential customers must complete a medical appraisal including checks with their own physician to ensure their general health and suitability before they can begin the process of fitting and training. This process typically takes around two weeks with Rex Bionics’ team of technicians, based at the Rex Centre in Auckland.
Rex has undergone thorough testing during its seven year development including engineering validation and clinical trials, with the approval of the New Zealand Ethics Committee, in conjunction with disability and rehabilitation advisors.
CEO of Rex Bionics, Jenny Morel, says they expect to conclude internal testing of Rex shortly and will then have a preliminary release in Auckland to allow the company to track what happens when people take Rex home.
Press release: World First Robotic Legs Provide New Option for Wheelchair Users… (Word document)
Company website: Rex Bionics…