Techno-trousers arrive in Britain

As I described in my ’emerging technologies’ report, Wallace (the real one, not Ed Mill) was ahead of his time when he developed the techno-trousers that could be programmed to take Gromit for a walk.

Israel and Japan are the world leaders in robotics and both have been refining their own ‘exoskeleton’ trousers for the disabled to wear for some years. However Israel are the first country to try to export their idea – the Re-walk – which was on view at the NEC yesterday. The case-studies of the transformation they bring to the life of a paraplegic are heart-warming. The  price tag is not – Argo who produce them had talked about at £10k tag in the past – now they are out in the field this has risen to £50k. As with all technology this will come down over time, but it raises a new yet familiar challenge. Wouldn’t we all want a returning soldier who had been paralysed while on active service to have access to such technology? And what gets cut to ensure that they do?

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About Julia Manning

Julia Manning is a social pioneer, writer, campaigner and commentator. Formerly a clinical optometrist specialising in diabetes and visual impairment, she is the founder and Director of 2020health, an independent, social enterprise Think Tank whose aim is to Make Health Personal and Social. 2020health has through research, events and campaigning influenced opinion and action in fields as diverse as bioethics, alcohol, emerging technologies, fraud, education, consumer technology and vaccination. In 2014, 2020health were founding partners of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Since 2016, 2020health has increasingly focused on digital health and public health in the community. Julia is a Fellow of the RSA and now also a part-time PhD student at the UCL Interaction Centre, studying the use of digital technology for stress management in the workplace. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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