Robotic Legs Allow Paraplegics to Walk

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 16 (UPI) — Two British engineers living in New Zealand have developed a pair of robotic legs they say will allow paraplegics to walk again.

Dubbed Rex, for Robotic Exoskeleton, the prostheses took engineers Richard Little and Robert Irving seven years to design and build, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The legs weigh 84 pounds and are activated by a small electric motor powered from a lightweight battery.

Wheelchair users can move into the device in a sitting position, strap themselves in, and control movements with a joystick and control panel on the arm, the newspaper said.

Hayden Allen, unable to walk since a motorcycle accident injured his spine, was one of the first to walk using Rex.

“I’ll never forget what it was like to see my feet walking under me the first time I used Rex,” Allen said.

“People say to me ‘look up when you’re walking’ but I just can’t stop staring down at my feet moving,” he said.

The inspiration to develop Rex came when Irving developed multiple sclerosis, Little said.

“In addition, both of our mothers are in wheelchairs, so we are aware of some of the obstacles and access issues faced by many wheelchair users,” he said.

The price for the Rex legs is expected to be around $150,000, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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