Bionic legs help paraplegic man walk again

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A New Zealand company has invented a unique pair of bionic legs that is allowing a paraplegic to walk again.

The inventors have been working on the design in secret for seven years and used paraplegic Hayden Allen to test their work.

The bionic legs allowed Allen to walk across the room and shake hands with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key eye to eye, instead of reaching up from a wheelchair.

Allen is paralysed from the chest down following a motorcycle accident five years ago.

He said he couldn't "walk away? Or roll away" from the opportunity to walk again when asked to test the bionic legs.

Allen's family had been kept in the dark about his involvement in the project, and only found out at the launch.

"Seeing him here today, it's just blown us away, it's brought tears to our eyes really," said his father Ron Allen.

Rex was designed by Auckland-based inventors Richard Little and Robert Irving, initially in their spare time.

"There's no other device that we know of that's autonomous and allows people to stand, walk, go up and down stairs and slopes and things independently," Little told reporters at the launch.

The legs weigh 38 kilograms and have to be made to measure for the user. The first pair sold is expected to go for around 150-thousand US dollars, about the same price as 20 standard wheelchairs.

1 comment

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