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Mount Sinai Unveils Exoskeleton That Allows Paralyzed Patients To Walk

Robert Woo shows off his exoskeleton at Mount Sinai - Dec. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Robert Woo shows off his exoskeleton at Mount Sinai – Dec. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A new medical technology allowing patients with spinal cord injuries to walk again was unveiled at Mount Sinai Hospital today.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond On The Story

It’s an exoskeleton and, for Robert Woo of Manhattan, the potential is nothing short of miraculous.

It looks like a body brace with a remote control and gizmos at the knees that resemble shotguns. It has motors and the hips and knees that provide the power necessary for someone to stand and walk.

“I [hope I] can walk down the street. I can take my children to the park. I can stand up next to my wife and giver her a hug,” he said Thursday of the hope for the long-term when the technology becomes even more advanced.

Right now, it’s a therapeutic tool for rehabilitation facilities.

The 44-year-old architect was paralyzed in 2007 in a crane collapse in Lower Manhattan.

“How are you doing Robert? Are you up for some more walking?” Jeanne Zanca, Mount Sinai’s assistant director for spinal cord injury research, asked him.

“Sure,” he said, and took the wearable robot for a spin.

Robert Woo shows off his exoskeleton at Mount Sinai - Dec. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Robert Woo shows off his exoskeleton at Mount Sinai – Dec. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Mount Sinai is one of 30 hospitals worldwide where the device is being used.

“This is a technology that really has allowed us get people with spinal cord injury walking now and that’s one of the things that’s most exciting for us about it,” Zanca said.

Exciting for Woo was the reaction from his kids.

“‘Daddy’s Iron Man. Daddy’s Iron Man!’ I said, ‘Well, not exactly,'” he said.