The Food and Drug Administration granted regulatory approval for the Indego exoskeleton on March 10. It’s made by the Parker Hannifin Corp., a company specializing in motion control technology.
A decision was made by the FDA after reviewing the data from an extensive clinical trial where scientists tested the product’s safety in a variety of environments, according to Parker’s official announcement.
The device is intended to help patients with spinal-cord injuries or similar conditions, writes Fortune, but the company can sell it directly to consumers or be used in clinical settings. Indego is a pair of robotic legs that attaches to a strap above an individual’s waist.
Popular Science elaborates that the combination of “rigid supports” built into different joints along with battery-powered electric motors controlled by computers lets the wearer operate the exoskeleton like a Segway. Users can lean forward to make the Indego suit move while leaning for a while will make the suit sit down.
A Wall Street Journal report indicates Indego will have a sticker price of $80,000, potentially complicating Parker Hanniflin’s chances of wide-spread market adoption.
However, selling points like being 20 pounds lighter than its competitor along with built-in electrical pulses to help reduce muscle atrophy and boost circulation could help convince insurers to provide coverage.
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