August 14, 2013

Cover Story

CEO of the Year

Utah’s business landscape is rich with professionals who have le...Read More

Featured Articles

Did you go Skiing this winter?

Around Utah

Sections

Spotlight
Martin Plaehn

Spotlight
Karen Sendelback

Legal Briefs
Social Media and Employers: Friends or Enemies?

Money Talk
The Case for HSAs

Economic Insight
Time to Show Up

Lessons Learned
Make a Move

TechKnowledge
In the Lab

EntrepreneurEdge
Rent to Own

Business Trends
Back from the Dead

Executive Living
Artful Inspiration

Features
A Breath of Fresh Air

Features
Worst-Case Scenario

Regional Report
Northern Utah

Focus
Measure Up

Industry Outlook
Travel & Tourism

Players
Players

Article

Exoskeleton Gives Paralyzed Patients a Chance to Walk

By Devin Felix | Photo courtesy University of Utah Health Care

August 14, 2013


 

Salt Lake City — Two years ago, Heather Leighton was in college as a dance major. On Aug. 14, 2011 she went cliff-diving with friends at Echo reservoir. She hit the water and felt a bad sensation in her back, but it wasn’t until she tried to climb into the boat that she realized something was very wrong: She couldn’t move her legs.

A trip to the hospital and an MRI showed that she had fractured her T-12 vertebrae. She was paralyzed from the hips down. She could no longer walk. She could no longer dance.

In time, she got used to living life in a wheelchair, but now she’s learning to walk again with an assist from a new technology known as ReWalk. It’s an exoskeleton designed to enable people to walk who are paralyzed or have otherwise lost the use of their legs.

“It was kind of the coolest thing I’ve ever done,” Leighton said, describing the first time she used the device during a rehab session. “During one of my visits, my dad came down and I had my first standing hug in a year and a half. It was kind of amazing.”

Leighton helped introduce the ReWalk at a press conference Tuesday, along with representatives of University of Utah Health Care and the company that makes the device.

ReWalk is basically a pair of robotic legs that a user can wear on the outside of her own legs. The device is powered by batteries and controlled by a computer, both housed in a backpack worn by the user. It has accelerometers to sense movement, and when the user leans forward, the exoskeleton begins walking, taking the user’s legs along with it. The user also relies on crutches for balance and support. (For a video of the device in action, click here.)

Stephen Wilson, a paraplegic who lives in Los Angeles and has had months of experience using ReWalk, demonstrated it at Tuesday’s press conference. He said learning to use it takes some practice; it takes precise timing and requires the use of lots of upper body muscles.

The device is currently approved for use in rehabilitation centers like the U of U’s Sugar House Clinic. A version designed for use at home and in day-to-day life is currently in use in other countries and is expected to be approved by the FDA within the next few months, said Phil Astrachan, a representative of Argo Medical Technologies, the company that created ReWalk.

Utah Business Social
UB Events View All
Content Marketing BootcampUtah Business Event
Oct 28, 2014
Please join Utah Business Magazine and Adobe, along with our other sponsors: Boostability, Right ...
Sustainable Business Awards 2014Utah Business Event
Nov 13, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with presenting sponsor Big D Construction, is pleased to announce t...
Best Companies to Work For 2014Utah Business Event
Dec 11, 2014
Utah Business magazine along with our sponsors Diversified Insurance and Miller Motor Sports Park...
Community Events View All
Deal Forum - Salt Lake City
Oct 22, 2014
This Deal Forum is a live pitch event and will feature a number of entrepreneurs who are seeking ...
Interwest Paper - Recycling Brokerage Tour
Oct 22, 2014
Learn about the recycling services ecosystem and what it takes to support customers in nine state...

info@utahbusiness.com  |  90 South 400 West, Ste 650 Salt Lake City, Utah 84101   |  (801) 568-0114

Advertise with Utah Business

Submit an Event

* indicates required information
* Event Name:
Price (general):
Website (if applicable):
Coordinator's Name:
Coordinator's Email:
Coordinator's Phone:
Venue Name:
Venue Address:
Venue City:
Venue Zip:
Event Capacity:
Date(s):
to
* Event Description:
  Cancel