Israeli company ReWalk to make public offering

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli company ReWalk Robotics will sell public shares for the first time for a device that enables people with spinal cord injuries to stand and walk.

The company, which changed its name from Argo Medical Technologies to the name of its major product, announced this week that it will make an initial public offering on the NASDAQ next month.

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The ReWalk device, a 44-pound exoskeleton that allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to walk, stand and sit with minimal exertion,  was featured in 2010 on the popular television drama “Glee” while undergoing clinical trials in the United States.

The company recently received approval for the device from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for home use. It is already in use in Europe.

The ReWalk, developed by Argo and released in September 2012, is the brainchild of Amit Goffer, an Israeli computer scientist and inventor who became paralyzed after a 1997 car accident. Although he cannot use the ReWalk himself because he lacks the use of his arms, he began designing the device with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Israeli government because he was frustrated at the lack of alternatives to a wheelchair.

The device functions through motors attached to the legs that can propel a disabled person at a slow walking speed. A tilt sensor, the same technology used on Segway electric transporters, can sense whether the user wants to move forward or back, stand or sit. Poles are used for added support.