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Codebreaker

Paralyzed Berkeley grad walks at graduation with aid of exoskeleton

John Moe May 16, 2011
Codebreaker

Paralyzed Berkeley grad walks at graduation with aid of exoskeleton

John Moe May 16, 2011

Austin Whitney’s spine was severed just below the hip as the result of a car accident the summer before he started college. Whitney ended up graduating from Berkeley in four years and at graduation this weekend he walked up to get his diploma with the aid of a walker and a computer powered exoskeleton. While at Berkeley, he worked with professor Hamayoon Kazerooni of mechanical engineering and a team of graduate students to build the apparatus. It’s a dramatic improvement on technology Kazerooni first developed 11 years ago as a result of a DARPA grant. Kazerooni is looking for a distributor for the machine, which he expects will cost about as much as a motorized wheelchair.

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