The Technion UK hosted Claire Lomas on Monday in honor of International Women’s Day, which officially took place earlier this month.
Lomas – who was paralyzed after being thrown off by her horse while competing at Osberton Horse Trials – attended the event wearing a robotic bodysuit invented in Israel at the Technion.
“I walked the London Marathon wearing the robotic suit for Spinal Research" raising hundreds of thousands of pounds and much-needed worldwide publicity for spinal injuries, Lomas told the group. “The best years of my life have been since I had my accident. I never thought that would happen."
“I’ve met so many people, including prime ministers, and I met them all at eye level,” she continued. “For someone in a wheelchair, it feels amazing."
Lomas can “meet them at eye level” because of the robotic suit, which was developed at the Technion by Dr. Amit Goffer, who is a quadriplegic himself. After an accident in 1997, he wanted to create something that would allow wheelchair users to walk, climb stairs and stand eye-to-eye with others.
The first suit – used by Lomas – is designed for people with lower limb disabilities as an upright day-to-day alternative to a wheelchair. It is a brace based on the concept of an "exoskeleton".
Goffer has since developed additional suits, such as the better-known ReWalk body suit – a light wearable brace support suit with motors at the joint, rechargeable batteries, an array of sensors and a computer-based control system.