An Arizona veteran walks thanks to a robotic exoskeleton after being in a wheelchair for a decade

Richard Nieder, a US Army veteran, is able to walk again after sustaining a spinal cord injury in Iraq thanks to a robotic exoskeleton.

Neder, the first Phoenix veteran to receive a ReWalk Personal 6.0 exoskeleton through the Veterans Affairs program, was unable to walk after being injured in an improvised explosive device (IED) incident in Iraq and spent nearly ten years in a wheelchair.

The battery-powered device has sensors that detect when it changes its weight and then tells Neider’s other leg to move — creating a walking motion. The lightweight exoskeleton helps stabilize his knees and hips.

“I can’t stop smiling when I’m at it,” said the former Army sergeant, who saw the May 2005 injury worsen over time. “It’s total independence, to be on my feet, and to be face to face with everyone.”

“I can be a protective man again – not just a role model,” he adds with a laugh.

US Army veteran Richard Nieder (above) is able to walk again after sustaining a spinal cord injury in Iraq thanks to a robotic exoskeleton

Neder (seen above during his military service) says that when he ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry - and he saw someone walking and wanted to scream at them.  Says:

Neder (seen above during his military service) says that when he ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry – and he saw someone walking and wanted to scream at them. “Being able to get up and actually see my feet move, it’s one of the most amazing experiences for me,” he says.

ReWalk's technology has been in development for many years and received FDA approval about eight years ago.  Neder is shown above during his time in the army

ReWalk’s technology has been in development for many years and received FDA approval about eight years ago. Neder is shown above during his time in the army

Neider, who has seen the 2005 injury get worse over time, told AZFamily

“I can never stop smiling when I’m at it,” Neider, who has seen the 2005 injury get worse over time, told AZFamily. “Total independence, the ability to stand on my own two feet, and get along with everyone”

How does ReWalk’s Personal Exoskeleton 6.0 work

The battery-powered system from ReWalk Robotics features a lightweight, wearable exoskeleton

There are motors in the hip, sharp joints, and a battery pack that one wears on the back

The device contains sensors to detect changes in a person’s center of gravity

Then it prompts the person to take a step and move the opposite leg

The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration about eight years ago

The company, which has offices in Israel, Germany and the United States, is working with Veterans Affairs to provide the machine on a trial basis.

Once that trial is complete, VA covers the cost of $75,000

The soldier comes from a long line of family members who have served their country, according to a biography at VeteransCharityRide.org. His father was a championship boxer in the army and his uncle worked in the Marines, while his grandfather was in the Air Force and his great-grandfather was in the Navy.

Neder says that when he ended up in a wheelchair, he was depressed and angry – he saw someone walking and wanted to scream at him.

“Being able to get up and actually see my feet move is one of the most amazing experiences for me,” he says.

Having to move around using a wheelchair occurred after walking with a cane and walker, as his injury had worsened over the years.

Dan Buonarroti, physical therapist and owner of Touchstone Re Rehabilitation, told DailyMail.com that the technology also has broader potential uses than just uses for patients like Neider.

“It can be used for someone who is completely paralyzed but it can also be used by people who have some ability to walk but have difficulty with it,” he says. “It’s almost a larger target for the second reason, which is that it expands people with stroke and incomplete spinal cord injury.”

ReWalk’s technology has been in development for many years and received FDA approval about eight years ago.

The flagship device costs $75,000, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has been testing it since 2015 so that people can train and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they’re using it properly.

The soldier comes from a long line of family members who have served their country.  His father was a championship boxer in the army and his uncle worked in the Marines, while his grandfather was in the Air Force and his great-grandfather was in the Navy.

The soldier comes from a long line of family members who have served their country. His father was a championship boxer in the army and his uncle worked in the Marines, while his grandfather was in the Air Force and his great-grandfather was in the Navy.

Neder asserts that his wife, Keri (above), has been the driving force behind his support over the past decade, and he looks forward to his future

Neder asserts that his wife, Keri (above), has been the driving force behind his support over the past decade, and he looks forward to his future

Neder, the first Phoenix veteran to receive the ReWalk Personal 6.0 exoskeleton through the Veterans Affairs Program, was unable to walk after being injured in an explosion in Iraq and spent nearly ten years in a wheelchair

Neder, the first Phoenix veteran to receive the ReWalk Personal 6.0 exoskeleton through the Veterans Affairs Program, was unable to walk after being injured in an explosion in Iraq and spent nearly ten years in a wheelchair

“To be able to offer something that can get them going with a functional ability, a first of its kind,” he says.

According to Buonarroti, it takes 28 sessions over 2.5 months for a patient to be fully trained in the use of the exoskeleton.

For his part, Neider plans to take ReWalk in his sidecar for next year’s bike ride to Sturgis, Michigan with his fellow veterans.

“I have legs and would be able to walk with everyone instead of rolling with everyone!” tells AZFamily.

Neder asserts that the wife has been the driving force behind his support over the past decade. He lives with his wife Keri in a house in the valley.

It is more than freedom. It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my own two feet, and be face to face with everyone,” he explains.

“The biggest handicap was not my inability to walk, but the way I was looking at things. It was the mental aspect of it.

Once I figured it out, I was only able to start moving forward and realizing that I could do everything everyone else was doing. I just do it a little differently.

The flagship device costs $75,000, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has been testing it since 2015 so that people can train and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they're using it properly.

The flagship device costs $75,000, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has been testing it since 2015 so that people can train and take it home for a short rental period — recording their experience with it — to make sure they’re using it properly.

It is more than freedom.  It's complete independence, being able to stand on my own two feet, and be face to face with everyone,

It is more than freedom. It’s complete independence, being able to stand on my own two feet, and be face to face with everyone,” explains Neder, seen in a sidecar above,

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