The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center says that around 276,000 people in the U.S. have spinal cord injuries, with 12,500 new cases every year. Add in other conditions and the number of people with walking difficulties pushes into the millions.
A company called Parker Hannifin thinks it has a solution to partial mobility impairment with its Indego powered exoskeleton. The exoskeleton attaches to the user's legs and helps them walk. How well does it work? Watch the video below.
The exoskeleton is lightweight and modular so users can put it on and take it off themselves. It works like a Segway, using the direction the user is leaning to indicate where they want to go. There's also an app for better control.
Parker Hannifin isn't the only company to be working on powered walking devices, but it is the first to get FDA approval to sell the exoskeleton to consumers. Of course, it isn't cheap, at $80,000 per unit.
It might have to start out as a therapy tool in rehab centers before it filters down to the general population. The Department of Defense and other major U.S. rehab centers already have a four-year agreement to use it.