A robotic skeleton has allowed a paraplegic woman to walk again in what she describes as a 'life changing' experience.
Amanda Boxtel has described the first moments after she tried on the Ekso device, named because it resembles a exoskeleton, at the first showcasing of the new technology in Europe yesterday.
The 43-year-old, who was paralysed from the waist down in a 1992 skiing accident, told the Telegraph using the robotic skeleton was 'life changing'. She told the paper: 'The first time I walked in them I went back to my hotel room and cried hard.
'To walk with my knees bent, heels striking the ground again is just amazing. At a cocktail party rather than looking up at nostrils and chins, I 'd be able to stand eye to eye.'
The skeleton works by helping the wearer walk by picking up tiny body movements and then translates them into strides while motors in the device's hip and knee joints drive the frame forward.
Ekso started its life being funded by the American military which was interested in giving soldiers more agility and strength.
Eythor Bender, the chief exceutive of the brand, said the company realised the potential for the legs with people who have spinal injuries five years ago.
And after a spell working in rehabilitation clinics they came up with their robotic skeleton, which Mr Bender told The Telegraph was the first real alternative for paraplegics in terms of mobility since the wheelchair.
He told the paper: 'We want to enhance their independence and freedom of movement and with Esko they now have the option to stand and walk for the first time since their injury.'
At the showcasing of the technology at the London International Technology Show Mr Bent said Esko would be available in Britain next year, first to rehabilitation centres and then to individuals at £100,000 a pair.