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(Re)Walking in Time

Israeli invention named among Time mag’s “25 Best Inventions”

Radi Kaiuf, an Israeli paratrooper wounded in war and one of the first to use ReWalk.

Radi Kaiuf, an Israeli paratrooper wounded in war and one of the first to use ReWalk.

Israeli ingenuity earned a coveted spot on Time magazine’s “The 25 Best Inventions of the Year” with ReWalk — a device invented by Dr. Amit Goffer, alumnus of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

ReWalk is an exoskeleton that allows paraplegics to stand, walk and even climb stairs. The device is equipped with electric motors, a computerized backpack and sensors that anticipate shifts in the user’s balance, sending a signal to the computer that initiates movement.

The device was invented after a tractor accident left Goffer a quadriplegic in 1997. Seeking an alternative to the wheelchair, he left Odin Medical Technologies, where he had developed a novel MRI system, and started to experiment. With financial assistance from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist and a boost from Technion Seed (then called Technion Incubator), he created ReWalk. He has credited the rigor and entrepreneurial spirit of his Technion education (B.S. in electrical engineering in 1975) with contributing to his success.

The device began to capture global media attention in the spring of 2012 when it was used to participate in the London Marathon and again this past spring when a former Israeli paratrooper, wounded in war, used it to participate in the 10-kilometer race of the Tel Aviv Marathon.

In September 2013 Japan’s Yaskawa Electric partnered with ReWalk manufacturer Argo Medical Technologies to improve the technology and to expand into East Asia. Capping an already phenomenal year for the invention, ReWalk entered the pantheon of Time Inc.’s “Best Inventions” on Nov. 25, 2013.

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