>> It's been 21 years since Reuters journalist Andrei Khalip could walk, in 1996 a scooter accident in the Greek islands left him with both legs paralyzed.>> It wasn't pretty, I just couldn't get up, couldn't feel my legs.>> Now Andrei's about to take part in a clinical trial for a powered exoskeleton, traveling from his home in Portugal to California, and finding himself at the cutting edge of bionics research.
>> I know quite well that it's not a magic fix to the paralysis thing, so yeah, just have to manage my expectations.>> I'm sure there's a lot of very good promising research but in practical terms, I mean you don't see anybody really getting up, ditching the wheelchair, and going for a walk.
Maybe it will work, I don't know, I have to try it on. I want to try it on,
ing it on!>> This it the Phoenix, a walking, talking robotic suit. It's not the first of its kind but the simplified design makes it the lightest and the cheapest of its rivals.
A planned price tag of about $30,000, just over a third of the best value version currently on the market. The suitX does the basics, helping the user stand up and walk around, though stairs are still a no-go. The user controls two hip motors with buttons on the crutches, one button to stand up and go forward, one to stop and sit down.
>> You can see it's hard work and it is, you do have to put in a lot of effort but it feels really, really great. Yeah, you would imagine standing up on the first day would be sensational, emotional, but it wasn't, it was mostly scary on the first attempts.
And now it feels a lot more natural and I know that it's possible to get much faster and much more efficient with that. It's liberating, it's great, it's beautiful.
For paralyzed people like Andrei being upright is crucial, preventing the loss of bone mass and pressure sores.
This suit is still in the pilot phase but Andrei is already saving up.