Man machine -- It's a medical miracle you have to see to believe - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Man machine -- It's a medical miracle you have to see to believe

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(NBC) - A twenty foot fall put Army veteran Gene Laureano in a wheelchair and he makes the best of it.

Michael Gore was paralyzed from the belly button down in a 2002 work accident.

But they both can now stand and walk. First, watch Michael, using the Parker Indego.

Michael Gore, paraplegic patient, "At first it was overwhelming. The biggest thing, I can stand up and look at you and talk to you like this."

Gene Laureano, paraplegic patient, "It makes me feel normal"

Gene is in an exoskeleton called a Rewalk, which is already being used as a personal device in a few European homes.

It's not until you see something like this that you realize how much we take for granted.  The fact that we can walk. The fact is, this is one of the most complicated things we can do with the human body.

The makers of Rewalk say this is truly a combination of man and machine.

Philip Astrachan, Argo Medical Technologies, "It's a man machine interface. It's not a device taking a person for a ride. It's how they interact together."

An array of motion sensors detects Gene's slight upper body movements and that"s how the Rewalk triggers these motorized joints to move.

And with all this technology, far smaller processors and batteries have made a huge difference.

The exoskeletons are still in trials, but both patients hope for one of their own one day.

Of course, there's still the question of cost and that's a thorny one.  The Rewalk is $60,000 a piece.

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