Wearable robots getting lighter, more portable

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Associated Press

Posted on May 9, 2013 at 3:33 AM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 9:27 AM

CHICAGO (AP) — When Michael Gore stands it's a triumph of science and engineering. He was paralyzed from the waist down 11 years ago in a workplace accident. Yet he rises from his wheelchair to his full 6-foot-2-inches and walks across the room.

Gore walks with help from a lightweight wearable robot, which he demonstrated this week in Chicago at the annual meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association.

The 27-pound Indego device is the lightest of several competing products being tested in U.S. rehab hospitals. It snaps together and straps onto the user's waist and legs.

The 42-year-old Gore of North Carolina says it's an emotional boost to talk with people eye-to-eye. The devices are still experimental and haven't yet been approved by federal regulators for personal use.

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