Restoring Mobility to Paralyzed Warriors: REWALK EXOSKELETON

May 09, 2015



Disclaimer: This list is NOT all inclusive. US Special Operations have dozens of firearms at their disposal. This list is just a sampling and is arranged in NO particular order.

     FN SCAR

The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) is a modular rifle made by FN Herstal (FNH) for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) to satisfy the requirements of the SCAR competition. This family of rifles consist of two main types. The SCAR-L, for "light", is chambered in the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge and the SCAR-H, for "heavy", fires 7.62×51mm NATO. Both are available in Long Barrel and Close Quarters Combat variants.

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

10 Guns of the Special Forces

Pictured Above: FN MK 20 MOD 0 Sniper Support Rifle (SSR)
Cartridge
  • 5.56×45mm NATO(SCAR-L)
  • 7.62×51mm NATO(SCAR-H)
Action Gas-operated (short-stroke gas piston), rotating bolt
Rate of fire 625 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity
  • SCAR-L: 2,870 ft/s (870 m/s) (M855)
  • SCAR-L: 2,630 ft/s (800 m/s) (Mk 262)
  • SCAR-H: 2,342 ft/s (714 m/s) (M80)
Effective firing range
  • SCAR-L: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 500 m (550 yd) (Standard), 600 m (660 yd) (Long)
  • SCAR-H: 300 m (330 yd) (Short), 600 m (660 yd) (Standard), 800 m (870 yd) (Long)
Feed system
  • SCAR-L: STANAG box magazine
  • SCAR-H/SSR: 20-round box magazine
Sights Iron sights or various optics

FULL FN SCAR SPECS HERE

 

  Words by Bridget Foster.

Most of us wake up each morning and rise out of bed unassisted, giving no thought to having the ability to stand and walk. For those who have suffered spinal cord injuries, what was once considered an impossibility may now become a reality with the help of a robotic machine called ReWalk.

Developed by Argo Medical Technologies Inc. ReWalk is a prosthetic exoskeleton consisting of a fitted, metal brace that supports the legs and lower torso; motors that supply movement at the hips, knees and ankles; a motion sensor similar to that used in smartphones; a wrist-mounted wireless controller; canes for balance; and a backpack containing a computer and lithium ion batteries to power the system.

There are two versions of the ReWalk; the ReWalk Rehabiliation system was designed specifically for individuals in clinical rehabilitation facilities with spinal cord injuries at levels T4 (fourth thoracic vertebra) to T6 (sixth thoracic vertebra). This version is adapted to fit users of different heights and weights and has been in use since 2011.

The second version, the ReWalk Personal System, is customized for people with spinal cord injuries at levels T7 (seventh thoracic vertebra) to L5 (fifth lumbar vertebra). It is designed to be used in daily living situations (excluding sports and climbing stairs) both indoors and out, on a variety of terrains and surfaces. The personal version has been available to the public in Europe and Israel since 2012 and late last month, was approved by the FDA for sale to the public in the United States. The unit, weighing 44 pounds, costs $69,500.

The VA has been overseeing a research program on the device since 2011, studying its effects on the overall health of the wearer, their tissue mass and bone density, all which become compromised from sitting in a wheelchair. About a dozen paralyzed veterans have participated in the study at The James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York.

The ReWalk operates by a wrist-mounted controller. The wearer presses buttons that command the exoskeleton to pull him (or her) upright out of chair or to lower them to a chair. When the user wants to walk, they lean forward onto the canes strapped to their arms and the motion sensor detects the forward tilt of the torso, moving the legs forward in a series of small steps. Controlled by the computer in the backpack, motors at the hips and knee joints lift and lower the legs in movements programmed to simulate the human gait.

One California Marine, Capt. Derek Herrera, may be the first American to purchase the personal ReWalk, thanks to assistance from the MARSOC Foundation. His health insurance will not cover the cost of the personal device. Capt. Herrera was paralyzed in 2012 from the waist down when he was struck by a sniper’s bullet while on a mission in Afghanistan. He is still on active duty with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion and has until now, been using the ReWalk at the rehabilitation facility at Camp Pendleton.

Being newly approved by the FDA, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) has not yet determined whether Tricare will cover the cost of the ReWalk. Army Maj. Gen. Richard Thomas, DHA director of health care operations, wouldn’t comment specifically on the ReWalk, but stated that the DHA considers “all promising technologies, taking into consideration research and testing.”