Wheelchair to Walking - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Wheelchair to Walking

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WSVN -- 18 years after a ski accident left her a paraplegic, Amanda Boxtel is getting around again.

Amanda Boxtel: "To be able to walk in my tall 5 foot 7 frame, to look around the world, and to have a heart to heart hug, these are all things that I've dreamed for, for so many years."

Amanda is getting around thanks to a bionic machine called E-Legs. Her arms tell a backpack computer how to move battery-powered legs. The device has it's own control and it's own intelligence.

Eythor Bender: "You don't really feel the weight of the device, although this is 45 pounds, you don't feel it."

Amanda underwent 12 hours of training to use E-Legs. This video from Berkeley Bionics shows the device is easy to slip on and will eventually be small enough to wear all day long. Electronic walking technology was originally developed for the military to help soldiers carry extra weight without injuring their back. Researchers say many of the nearly 3-million americans who use wheelchairs were highly active when they were injured.

18-year old aspiring dancer Chelsie Hill was paralyzed in a drunk driving accident. Now she hopes she'll stand tall again.

Chelsie Hill: "I'll get to give someone a hug, you know? Instead of having them like bend down, I get to full on give someone a hug. I'm really excited for the day I get to do that."

Researchers say by early next year E-Legs will walk out of the lab and into rehab centers for clinical trials.

Christine Cruz: The hope is E-Legs will be available within the next three years.".

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

www.berkeleybionics.com 

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