Claire Lomas, is an amazing person. She walked the London Marathon distance in an exoskeleton. She helped to raise thousands of pounds for Spinal ReSearch. She also worked with "Riders Revealed" to create a calendar of nearly naked riders to help raise money to buy an exoskeleton. But Claire Lomas is NOT the first person to own an exoskeleton. That honor most likely goes to Dave MacCalman of New Zealand. According to a recent press release:
Exoskeleton technology leader, ARGO Medical Technologies, along with mobility solutions provider, Cyclone Technologies, announced today that Claire Lomas has become the first person to take home an exoskeleton system for personal use. The new technology, which is manufactured by Argo Medical Technologies and supplied exclusively in the UK by East Yorkshire-based mobility solutions provider, Cyclone Technologies, has seen Claire become the first person in the world to utilise exoskeleton technology at home, and in her everyday life.Claire is probably the first person from the UK to own an exoskeleton. But as reported in this blog on 2 May 2011, Rex Bionics sold its first exoskeleton to Dave MacCalman, a New Zealand Paralympian over one year earlier. In fact, according to this article
About 30 people worldwide already use the (Rex Exoskeleton)When contacted for comment, John Frijters from Argo, the company which manufactures ReWalk said, "Our intent was not to discredit the work of any other exoskeleton unit. We are excited to release this new device that users can take home and incorporate into their daily lives. The ReWalk technology is unique in its design and we are launching a new phase in the UK and Europe now that the new unit will be available for personal use." I agree which Mr Frijters that it is indeed an exciting milestone that exoskeletons are now more widely available for personal use. I am certain that what is most important to Claire Lomas is that she is now walking whenever she wants, and it is less important if she is the first or indeed only one of the first wheelchair users to do so.