By Dianne R. Davis
The International Consumer Electronics Show aka CES, the showcase for the latest in consumer technology, brings together more than 3,600 companies under several Las Vegas roofs to tout their latest design and technology to buyers, media, and the public.
ShowStoppers, the brainchild of Steve Leon, is one of the events associated with CES that brings more than 150 exhibitors to a select invitation-only list of media.
I stood watching and then taking video as Gene Laureano walked across the floor at the Showstoppers Reception at CES on January 6, 2015. It was consumer technology at its finest and was developed by ReWalk Robotics.
Dave Leon of ShowStoppers and Jodi Gricci, Vice President of Global Marketing for ReWalk Robotics look on as Gene Laureano, a paralyzed man, is able to walk
Photo by Dianne R. Davis
The army veteran was paralyzed from the waist down as the result of a fall in 2001. He recalls vividly waking from an 18 hour surgery and being told by the doctor that he would never walk again. He sat in a chair for 13 years. But there he was, walking across the ballroom floor at the technological showcase event.
I asked Gene what went through his mind when he was able to use the technology to stand and walk after 13 years of being unable to do what most of us take for granted. “I was emotional, elated.” he said. He has not regained the feeling in his legs. Rather, he said, he feels like he is floating. The technology uses motor and sensors.
I later learned that after Dr. Amit Goffer became a paraplegic due to a 1997 auto accident, he set about developing a way that paraplegics could stand and walk again.
According to Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk Robotics, eventually millions of the more than 273,000 Americans who are paralyzed will be able to benefit from the technology. In Europe, the numbers are about the same and in Asia, the numbers are a little bit bigger. “We also believe that in the future, multiple sclerosis and stroke victims will benefit,” he told me at the ShowStoppers event.
Larry Jasinski, CEO of ReWalk Robotics
Photo by Burt Davis
As we walked from one display to another, many for entertainment, some for safely, some for health, it was gratifying to see Gene walk and to understand first-hand the good that evolving technology is doing and can do in the future. For more information about ReWalk Robotics, visit http://www.rewalk.com/ . To learn more about ShowStoppers visit http://www.showstoppers.com/?page_id=226.