|2010 will be a landmark year for wheelchair users. By the end of this year there will be three manufacturers with exoskeleton suits for wheelchair users on the market. Exoskeleton suits were once thought of as science fiction, but now they are science fact. In the 70’s Hollywood brought us images of a Six Million Dollar Man, who was severely disabled but through technology was not only able to walk again, but also gained super human-like powers. While bulky, slow and a long way from super human, the new exoskeleton suits will allow people with paralysis and other mobility related disabilities to walk again.
While these three manufacturers are now launching their exoskeleton suits regionally, it will not be long before all of them have their products available worldwide. But do not expect to see too many around for several years. The high costs of exoskeleton suits, over $100,000 each, will initially limit the sale of exoskeleton suits to the very wealthy and to rehabilitation centers. But with three manufacturers entering the market simultaneously and with several others under development it will not be long before prices drop and exoskeleton suits for wheelchair users become more widely available.
Today’s guest blogger, Dr. Gene Emmer is the author of Wheelchair Pride a blog about assistive technology for wheelchair users and Wheelchair a website offering innovative wheelchair accessories for worldwide sale.