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Israeli company ReWalk going public

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli company ReWalk Robotics, which builds exoskeletons to help people with spinal cord injuries stand and walk, is going public.

The company, which changed its name recently from Argo Medical Technologies to the name of its signature product, announced this week that it will be listed on the NASDAQ exchange next month.

The company recently received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the ReWalk device, a 44-pound exoskeleton that allows individuals with spinal cord injuries to walk, stand and sit with minimal exertion. ReWalk is already in use in Europe and was featured in 2010 on the popular television drama “Glee” while ReWalk was undergoing clinical trials in the United States.

Released in September 2012, ReWalk 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 said, 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, and stand or sit. Poles are used for added support.

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