Friday morning was a usual workday for me. Seven tons of steel studs were
being lifted from the crane. At around the 25th floor the sling support broke. The next thing I knew, you know, I was cold.
I couldn’t see anything and I could hear myself screaming in pain. My entire life flashed through my mind… I asked the doctor what happened and he mentioned to me that I was paralyzed from the neck down and most likely would never be able to walk again. As an architect I’m always trying to find solutions… and this was a very difficult problem. Why is the wheelchair which is a
1,000 years old technology the only mobility device that we have in this world? There’s salad here guys. Does anyone want the greek yogurt for the meat? My name is Robert Woo and I’m an architect. I have three boys and Vivian is my wife. I live in Toronto and in New York City. I am paralyzed from chest-down with no functions at all nothing works below my level of injury. Being in a wheelchair is very difficult. The things he talked to me about at that time were the things that he could not do. you know, I can’t take my kids to the park,
they’ll never know what it’s like to run with me. The simple things that we take for granted
in our everyday lives were things that he didn’t feel he could do anymore. The more I thought it the more depressed I felt. I thought to myself, what kind father and what kind of husband am I now? I felt that my life was over. I was looking for any glimmer of hope. Finding the exoskeleton was that glimmer of hope. I came across a ReWalk device. A wearable robot that will allow a person who is paralyzed to be able to stand up and walk again. And seeing the videos actually happening, and seeing someone who was paralyzed actually walking now And it’s not, you know, science fiction… That excited me.
That gave me a sense of purpose in life saying that, this is what I– I want to be that guy walking. The depression that I was in turned to an excitement, turned to the fact that there is hope. I’m very fortunate to be one of the early people to try it. Hi everybody. I’m going to show you something really incredible. Being able to stand and walk again is very exciting. It’s a big “wow” for me. I look back and I say you know what? You know, it happened for a reason, my life changed, and I’m now I’m making the best of it. Alright, now everything is controlled through the watch. So I’m going to stand. When you are given back that ability to walk, well, that’s, that’s an incredible feeling. That excited me. That gave me a sense of purpose. Certain things have started coming back to me. I started getting sensation below my level of injury.
I have less pain. My medication intake has been cut in half. Digestive system works much better. One of the significant changes– I have regained quad function in my muscles so I’m able now to lift my legs… Not yet strong enough to walk on it’s own. I shouldn’t be getting any of this back. I think the biggest lesson to learn
is that life is really short, and you really do have an opportunity
to make your life what you want it to be. I have a second chance to reset my priorities in life. I’m much happier now because I spend more time with my children. I spend more time with my family. As an architect, it is in my nature to make things better. I found that there were some issues
on the earlier versions and I made design suggestions
on how to improve the product like any new technology, when it first comes out,
the price is quite high. The more people purchase it the demand will start growing and then the price will start coming down. As human beings, I think we are always
striving to better ourselves to make our lives easier and more convenient. Not only will the exoskeleton be available to help people who are mobility impaired, but also people who are abled-bodied. When I’m in the exoskeleton
I can adapt to any environment. Who knows? One day you’d be able to wear it under your clothes and be walking like everybody else. The most important thing is
when all hope is lost, don’t give up. Don’t lose sight of living.