By Alyssa Newcomb
Patients paralyzed by spinal cord injuries are taking their precious first steps at a Southern California hospital with the help of a battery-powered bionic suit that was first designed to help soldiers carry heavy loads.
"Mentally it's a wonderful feeling to be upright and moving," said Aaron Bloom, who was paralyzed two years ago in an accident.
"Right now, I don't really need anybody holding me. I can lift my hands up and put a little weight on these crutches and feel pretty comfortable," he said.
The suit, which costs $150,000, is strapped on over a person's clothes. Foot plate sensors help locate the center of gravity so the person wearing the suit can maintain their balance as they take each step. A computer is worn on the back to help drive the hip and knee motors.
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