Arthur Renowitzky can’t help but command attention as he walks down the street on a sunny autumn morning.
A driver lowers her window to flash a smile and a thumbs-up. “You got this,” she says. A neighbor waves from his front yard. “Go get ’em A.R.”
Renowitzky has been paralyzed since 2007 after being shot in the chest for $20 and a fake gold chain. But he can stand and walk, using crutches for balance, when wearing an exoskeleton suit with motorized hips and knees powering his movements.
Wearable robots aren’t new. DARPA has been funding their development since the early 2000s with the aim of building motorized armor to enhance soldiers’ strength and endurance. Panasonic, Ekso Bionics and others offer upper-body suits that help construction and factory workers lift heavy loads. But their most powerful promise may be in helping people regain control of their bodies.
Image Credit: c|net