Dating a parapalegic
They began working with rehabilitation clinics to tailor them for paraplegics, believing they could create a device that predicted a person's walking intentions based on movements in the lower back.
Mr Bender said the Ekso represented the first real alternative for paraplegics in terms of mobility since the invention of the wheelchair, "which, believe it or not, has been around for 500 years".
However, at £100,000 a pair, they won't come cheap.
"In the home environment we are talking about making it more and more available," promised the businessman.
"Our bodies are meant to be up and moving, not sitting around in a wheelchair, stagnant." While braces have been used to help people with walking problems for a long time, Mr Bender said the difference between them and the Ekso was similar to the difference between a bicycle and a motorbike.Like anything unusual, be that a bike or a pair of skis, users have to learn how to make the Ekso work."To walk with my knees bent, heels striking the ground again is just amazing," she said. To enjoy the simple pleasures of being able to reach up to a top cupboard in my kitchen would be fabulous.At a cocktail party, rather than looking up at nostrils and chins, I'd be able to stand eye to eye.
He added: "We want to enhance their independence and freedom of movement and with Ekso they now have the option to stand and walk for the first time since their injury." Describing how it works he said: "It has sensors, that pretty much mimic your nerves, that sense your movements." These are then translated by a computer "brain" that "helps read your movements and drive forward motors that are sitting under your knees and your hips".
Miss Boxtel, 43, said the devices enabled her to walk with a reasonably natural gait.