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Arizona veteran walks thanks to robot exoskeleton after sitting DECADE in a wheelchair

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US Army veteran Richard Neider is able to walk again after a spinal cord injury in Iraq thanks to a robot exoskeleton.

Neider, the first veteran in Phoenix to receive the ReWalk Personal 6.0 Exoskeleton through a Veterans Affairs program, was unable to walk after being injured in an explosion in Iraq and spent nearly a decade in a wheelchair.

The battery-powered, motorized device has sensors that detect when he shifts his weight and then tells Neider’s other leg to move — creating a walking motion. The lightweight exoskeleton helps stabilize his knees and hip.

“I can never stop smiling when I’m in it,” says the former Army sergeant, who in May 2005 saw his injury worsen over time. AZFamily. “It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my feet, being able to face everyone.”

US Army veteran Richard Neider (above) can walk again after a spinal cord injury in Iraq thanks to a robotic exoskeleton

Neider, the first veteran in Phoenix to receive the ReWalk Personal 6.0 Exoskeleton through a Veterans Affairs program, was unable to walk after being injured in an explosion in Iraq and spent nearly a decade in a wheelchair

Neider, the first veteran in Phoenix to receive the ReWalk Personal 6.0 Exoskeleton through a Veterans Affairs program, was unable to walk after being injured in an explosion in Iraq and spent nearly a decade in a wheelchair

“I can never stop smiling when I’m in it,” Neider, who saw his injury worsen over time in 2005, told AZFamily. ‘It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my feet, being face to face with everyone’

What is the ReWalk Personal 6.0 exoskeleton?

ReWalk Robotics’ battery-powered system features a lightweight, wearable exoskeleton

There are motors in the hip and sharp joints and a battery pack that is carried on one’s back

The device has sensors to detect changes in a person’s center of gravity

Then the person is asked to take a step and move the other leg

The company, with offices in Israel, Germany and the US, is working with Veterans Affairs to deliver the machine on a trial basis

Once that trial is complete, the VA will cover the cost of $75,000

“I can be a stand-up man again – not just a role model,” he adds with a laugh.

Neider, 43, says that when he first ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry — and would see someone walking and screaming at them.

“To get up and watch my feet move is one of the most amazing experiences for me,” he says.

Dan Bonaroti, a physical therapist and owner of Touchstone Rehabilitation, tells DailyMail.com that the technology also has wider potential applications than just patients like Neider.

“It can be used for someone who is completely paralyzed, but it can also be used by people who can walk somewhat but have difficulty,” he says. “It’s almost a bigger target for the second reason, that it magnifies people with stroke and incomplete spinal cord injury.”

The technology behind the ReWalk has been in development for many years and received FDA approval about eight years ago.

The groundbreaking device costs $75,000, but the VA has been testing it since 2015 so people can be trained and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they use it properly. way.

“To be able to offer something that allows them to literally walk functionally, the first of its kind,” he says.

According to Bonaroti, it takes 28 sessions over about 2.5 months for a patient to be fully trained to use the exoskeleton.

Neider (seen above during his military service) says that when he first ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry — and would see someone walking and screaming at them.

Neider (seen above during his military service) says that when he first ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry — and would see someone walking and screaming at them. “To get up and watch my feet move is one of the most amazing experiences for me,” he says.

Nieder emphasizes that his wife, Kerry, has been the driving force behind his support for the past ten years, and he looks forward to his future

Nieder emphasizes that his wife, Kerry, has been the driving force behind his support for the past ten years, and he looks forward to his future

Neider, for his part, plans to take the ReWalk in his sidecar for next year’s bike ride to Sturgis, Michigan with fellow veterans.

“I’ll have legs and be able to walk with anyone instead of rolling with everyone!” he tells AZFamily.

Neider emphasizes that his wife has been his driving force behind him for the past ten years. He lives with his wife, Kerry, in a house in the Valley.

‘It’s more than freedom. It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my feet, being face to face with everyone,” he explains.

“The biggest handicap is not my inability to walk, but the way I looked at things. It was the mental side of it.

“Once I figured that out, I could just move forward and realize that I can do anything anyone else does. I just do it a little differently.’

The groundbreaking device costs $75,000, but the VA has been testing it since 2015 so people can be trained and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they're using it correctly.

The groundbreaking device costs $75,000, but the VA has been testing it since 2015 so people can be trained and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they’re using it correctly.

'It's more than freedom.  It's complete independence, being able to stand on my feet, being face to face with everyone,

‘It’s more than freedom. It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my feet, being face to face with everyone,” explains Neider, seen with his sidecar above.

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