High-tech machine offers paralyzed patients gift of walking

ROOSEVELT - The dream of walking again is becoming a reality for Long Islanders with spinal cord injuries thanks to the high-tech robotic suit called the ReWalk.

In 2004, Agnes Fejerdy got into a car accident that severed her spinal cord. Doctors told Fejerdy she'd never walk again, but that was before she got introduced to the ReWalk at the United Cerebral Palsy of Nassau (UCPN), which is the only training facility in the tri-state area that uses that technology.

Patients wear a backpack with a small computer and use a remote control to tell motion sensors at the joints of the suit to move.

"So while the equipment is actually about 40 pounds, the individual is not moving 40 pounds - the equipment is moving the person," says UCPN Executive Director Robert McGuire.

While the ReWalk can't cure paralysis, it helps patients regain independence and get better exercise.

The ReWalk is currently available only for therapeutic use at clinics, but researchers are trying to get FDA approval for the device for personal use.

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