A Reuters reporter who’s been paralyzed for 21 years recently got a chance to use SuitX’s experimental Phoenix mobility exoskeleton in a 2-week trial program, according to a new report.
The suit, developed at the University of California, Berkeley, is being commercialized by SuitX which is headed by Berkeley Robotics and Human Engineering Lab director Homayoon Kazerooni.
Reporter Andrei Khalip joined a 2 week program testing the device and despite a rocky start was able to use the system to walk under assistance, according to Reuters.
During his involvement in the program, Khalip said he was able to increase his mobility and stability on the system and improve his physical health, with sciatic pain that he had long experienced fading away.
Khalip said that the experience has convinced him to begin putting aside money for such a device in the future.
The company aims to produce a suit that costs significantly less than the competition at $30,000, much lower than the $77,000 price tag on market leader ReWalk Robotics’ (NSDQ:RWLK) exoskeleton. Other competitors offerings range between $80,000 and $99,000, according to Reuters.
CEO Kazerooni is hopeful that the company will be able to cut the cost of the suit by half over time, aiming to become competitive with the cost of powered wheelchairs to gain more consideration for reimbursement from health insurers.