Wounded walking

August 27, 2008

Technological advances just get more and more amazing:

HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) – paralyzed for the past 20 years, former Israeli paratrooper Radi Kaiof now walks down the street with a dim mechanical hum.

 That is the sound of an electronic exoskeleton moving the 41-year-old’s legs and propelling him forward — with a proud expression on his face — as passersby stare in surprise.

 “I never dreamed I would walk again. After I was wounded, I forgot what it’s like,” said Kaiof, who was injured while serving in the Israeli military in 1988.

 “Only when standing up can I feel how tall I really am and speak to people eye to eye, not from below.”

 The device, called ReWalk, is the brainchild of engineer Amit Goffer, founder of Argo Medical Technologies, a small Israeli high-tech company.

 Something of a mix between the exoskeleton of a crustacean and the suit worn by comic hero Iron Man, ReWalk helps paraplegics — people paralyzed below the waist — to stand, walk and climb stairs.

Asthma would have killed me in childhood except for the treatments that were avaialable because of drug-company research and development. I had a gum infection a few years ago that swelled one of my cheeks up about 300 percent; without the antibiotics that had been developed in my lifetime, I would have been disfigured for life.

Today, we’re making the unwalking wounded ambulatory. Who knows what we can do tomorrow, especially with nanotechnology and all the genome research going on? The biggest danger many people now alive face is that they might die just months or a few years before the cure that would have saved them.

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One Response to “Wounded walking”

  1. Larry Morris Says:

    Yes, that’s one of the biggest dangers, … but how about “the good news is that we will all live longer, the bad news is that we won’t be able to afford it, …” – bet that affects more prople.


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