We see cool gadgets all the time here at TechCrunch. But not many of them can help paraplegics walk again. This one does.
Berkeley Bionics has created an exoskeleton product called eLegs that literally gets these people up and walking. Arm swings on crutches control the legs and tell them when to walk. Time Magazine calls it one 50 best inventions of 2010, and they are clearly right. Technology like this may eliminate the concept of a wheelchair for millions of people with spinal cord injuries, stroke, MS, etc.. Here’s it in action:
Trials will begin next year. And the first trials will be held in Silicon Valley, at the Valley Medical Center in San Jose:
Valley Medical Center is the public hospital of Santa Clara County, and provides care to more children and adults than any other hospital in Silicon Valley. Our mission is unique – to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay. What you might not know is that we are the de facto children’s hospital of the South Bay. We maintain San Jose’s only Pediatric ICU and Trauma Unit, care for 145,000 kids annually at our 5 community clinics and deliver more babies than all by 7 other California hospitals. We do all this during times when patient demand is up (60% since 2000) and public dollars for health care is down ($200 million in budget cuts in the last 3 years).
The hospital, though, needs $130,000 to bridge a funding gap for the trial and to ensure it will begin in January 2011. I know we’ve already asked a lot from our readers with the UCSF Children’s Hospital, but we’re asking again. Please consider donating even a small amount to this cause. You can donate here.
Here’s what I’ll offer you in exchange – We’ve asked Berkeley Bionics to bring eLegs into our office so that I can try it out and post a video. If they agree we’ll bring in the top five donors as well and let you try it out. just as long as you’re ok with us posting the video on TechCrunch!