ReWalk to Develop “Soft” Exoskeleton Systems for Limited-Mobility Users

ReWalk Robotics will partner with Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering to develop designs for lightweight exoskeleton systems for people with lower-limb disabilities.

In a news announcement, Larry Jasinski, ReWalk’s CEO, said, “There is a great need in the healthcare system for lightweight, lower-cost, wearable exoskeleton designs to support stroke patients, individuals diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and senior citizens who require mechanical mobility assistance. This collaboration will help create the next generation of exoskeleton systems, making life-changing technology available to millions of consumers across a host of patient populations.”

ReWalk pointed out that most patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or who had strokes don’t need “the structural support of current-market rigid exoskeleton systems for individuals with spinal cord injury.”

Wyss Institute prototype “soft suits” transmit power to a patient’s legs via cables powered by software. The cables are part of a fabric-based system that is pulled onto the legs and feet and worn on the body, much like pants.

Stroke patients are currently expected to be the first ones to be commercially targeted for the system’s use. ReWalk and Wyss Institute anticipate the system will be commercially available by 2019.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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