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updated: 5/9/2013 7:15 AM

Wearable robots getting lighter, more portable

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  • Michael Gore, who is paralyzed from a spinal injury, walks with the use of the Indego wearable robot under the supervision of physical therapist Clare Hartigan during a meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association at a downtown hotel in Chicago.

      Michael Gore, who is paralyzed from a spinal injury, walks with the use of the Indego wearable robot under the supervision of physical therapist Clare Hartigan during a meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association at a downtown hotel in Chicago.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

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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