Berkeley Bionics, the manufacturer of the exoskeleton for wheelchair users eLEGS has announced that they are changing their name to "Ekso Bionics".
The name change makes sense. The name Berkeley Bionics reflected more about the place where the product was developed. The name Ekso Bionics is more about the product itself.
Slightly more puzzling is the fact that, along with changing the name of the company, they changed the name of the exoskeleton. From the press release:
"From this day forward, the company shall be known as Ekso Bionics, and eLEGS, a device that powers wheelchair users up and gets them standing and walking again, becomes Ekso." That is certain to cause some confusion as many people have come to know the name eLEGS.
Along with the new names come a redesigned website. What is interesting about the website is that instead of differentiating Ekso from the other Exoskeletons for wheelchair users, the new website seems to imply that Ekso is the only exoskeleton. From the company website:
"Ekso is the bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk."
I find that a bit misleading. Ekso is in fact the fourth bionic exoskeleton that allows wheelchair users to stand and walk. The other three being already on the market, while Ekso is still in clinical trials and not expected to be launched until 2012. Many believe that Ekso will be superior to the other Exoseletons but that remains to be seen. I hope that future announcements from the Ekso Bionics management team will help us to better understand their exciting technology and how it is different, or better, from the rest of the pack.
Read more about all four exoskeletons for wheelchair users.