New exoskeleton device to aid walking

Lighter and cheaper than earlier models


Stephen Sanchez wearing Suit X
Stephen Sanchez wearing Suit X

It takes just 12kg of hardware to get Steven Sanchez walking again. He lost the use of his legs more than a decade ago in a BMX biking accident. Now Sanchez serves as test pilot for an innovative, lightweight exoskeleton from SuitX called Phoenix.


The wearable robot is the result of years of work and stands apart from bulky, heavy and extremely expensive exoskeletons, like the one a partially paralyzed man wore to make the opening kick at the 2014 Soccer World Cup.


“It felt really freeing, being able to stand up and feel my legs move around and being able to move through the hallways without people kind of afraid of a wheelchair,” said the 28-year-old Sanchez, describing to Mashable the first time he used Phoenix.


The Phoenix suit is not cheap, it costs an estimated $40,000, but similar systems from companies like ReWalk cost nearly twice as much.


“The whole idea behind designing an exoskeleton is that it borrows from robotics technology. But this one is based on… the way we walk,” said SuitX Founder and CEO Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni.


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