A British woman, Claire Lomas, who was paralyzed in an accident nearly five years ago, is aiming to use a robotic exoskeleton to help her compete in the London marathon in April.
Lomas, who was paralyzed in a horse-riding accident in 2007, was told by the doctors that she would never walk again.
Lomas, 31, who will be raising money for charity by taking part in marathons and thinks it may take her up to three weeks to finish, will be participating in the latest marathon with the help of a special robotic suit which has helped her get back on her feet. Lomas, who has been wheelchair-bound since the accident, is now excited to be a part of the 26-mile marathon.
The ReWalk suit, as per description, is a powered exoskeleton that provides user-initiated mobility, and will help Lomas complete the marathon that will take place in London April 22. However, her immediate challenge is learning to walk using the robotic suit in the limited time left for her between now and the day of the event.
The suit's technology comprises a host of motors and gears that are strapped to the user's lower body, while sensors that are attached to the upper body help to control the motion. A computer, with a rechargeable battery power source, is located in a backpack. Once the technology is mastered, a user can even use it to climb stairs.
It is physically hard work and incredibly frustrating at times to get the technique right, but when I make progress, it gives me a fantastic feeling, Lomas told the Telegraph in an interview.
I keep wanting to look at my legs to see what they are doing. There is so much to think about and the weight shift is subtle. You have got to learn how to do that and to do it efficiently - it is really frustrating at first. If you don't get it right, the leg won't lift. You can't just strap yourself in and go, you have to work at it.
Lomas hopes to raise an amount somewhere around $78,000 (£50,000) for Spinal Research, according to a Digital Trends Report.
Claire Lomas, an extremely talented event rider, who has produced horses and competed at 4* level, had a freak accident while competing at Osberton Horse Trials in May 2007, writes the official Get Claire Walking Campaign Web site.
She collided with a tree which resulted in fractures to her neck, back and ribs. She suffered a punctured lung, pneumonia, had to have a tracheotomy to help her breathe and was in intensive care for 10 days.
The fracture in her back caused damage to Claire's spinal cord resulting in her being transferred to the Northern General Hospital's Spinal Injuries Unit. Claire left Sheffield after 8 weeks - the shortest time anyone has ever spent in that hospital with her type of injury. Claire is still paralyzed but determined to get better, it adds.