#ReWalk Robotic legs [VIDEO] approved by VA. The Veterans Affairs Department has agreed to pay for robotic legs that might allow many paralyzed veterans with injuries to their spinal cords to walk again.
Petitioning of the VA by veterans has been successful and that is a good thing since many cannot afford the $77,000 needed to pay for the powered exoskeleton known as the ReWalk. The ReWalk was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2014.
Once strapped in, the wearer leans forward, and tilt sensors signal the computer to move the motorized joints of one "leg" and move it forward. As the wearer continues to lean, the other leg takes a step and the process of walking begins.
There are 42,000 U.S. veterans who have lost the use of their legs, and ReWalk estimates nearly half would be eligible for the system, creating a $1.9 billion market.
"It's not difficult to see how many people need this, it's a question of can we get it to them and are the insurers going to accept this and provide it," said ReWalk Chief Executive Officer Larry Jasinski. "This is the first of the major elements on the insurance side that were important."
Dr. Arun Jayaraman of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said walking with the device is a difficult adjustment that requires a lot of training.
"When you and I walk, we can feel the floor and feel the ground. But when you can't feel anything below your limbs, and you're depending on a robot to move it, it's very important that he is in sync with it," Jayaraman told WGN-TV. "The device on this side has an angle sensor and it's a tilt sensor just above his waist. So when RJ is standing it looks for a certain tilt angle which we can preset and once it tilts it triggers the device. He needs to be in this rhythmic movement. So it takes many training sessions to get to the sync."
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