Two New Zealand inventors have produced what they claim are the world's first robotic legs to help paraplegics walk again.
The bionic legs were road-tested publicly for the first time Thursday by 23-year-old Hayden Allen who was told five years ago he would never walk again after being paralyzed from the chest down in a motorcycle accident.
Allen said the experience of being able to stand up and walk when strapped into his robotic legs was fantastic and he felt like a normal human being again.
"It will be a big benefit from a social aspect, being able to talk to someone at the same eye level," he told reporters.
Inventors Richard Little and Robert Irving, two expatriate Scottish engineers who emigrated in the early 1990s, came up with the idea seven years ago and have spent 10 million dollars (US $7.1 million) developing it.
Called Rex (robotic exoskeleton) the 38 kilogram (84 pounds) joy-stick operated legs were inspired by the movie "Aliens" in which the character Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) climbs into a robotic exoskeleton to fight an alien.