By the middle of this year, paraplegics around the world will be walking at home again, with a little bit of help from the Ekso exoskeleton.
Ekso - formerly known as Berkeley Bionics - has been developing the Ekso exoskeleton for about seven years, beginning in 2005 with the Exohiker, a suit designed to assist load bearing. After discovering that energy efficiency meant a restriction of what they could do with their power, the company began looking at the disabled market to try and create a product that would help paraplegics walk again.
Early this year clinics in the US and Europe will start receiving units to help patients train with the devices under doctor's supervision. It's still hard work for the patients, but given that the suit does most of the hard work for them, it's the first step in a future without wheelchairs for these people. Which is awesome.