Get involved: Send your news, views, pictures and video by texting SUPIC to 80360 or email us.
Lewes woman walks for first time in nine years thanks to Rex the robot suit
A 27-year-old wheelchair-bound woman has walked for the first time in nine years – thanks to a £90,000 robot suit called Rex.
Sophie Morgan wandered along Brighton beach with her family and boyfriend Tom Westbrook, who she lives with in Hove.
Miss Morgan described her steps as being “like a dream”. The aspiring television presenter was one of the first people in the world to benefit from the suit.
Rex is manipulated by a joystick built into the armrests. This enabled her to move up and down stairs and do tasks she had not done for years, including the cleaning.
Mr Westbrook, 28, had never seen his girlfriend stand up before.
Miss Morgan, who broke her back, fractured her skull and shattered her spine in a crash “hugged and hugged” chef Mr Westbrook on standing.
Now Rex has now gone back to New Zealand, where he is from. But Miss Morgan said it was “amazing” and marked a massive development for people who are paralysed.
Miss Morgan, who grew up in Nutley, near Uckfield, before moving to Lewes, said: “It was so amazing. I really do not know what to say about it.
“Tom had never seen me stand up before.
“At the moment Rex is expensive but hopefully he will get more and more affordable. Rex was very easy to operate. It is in the early stages but it really marks the development of something more.”
Rex weighs nearly six stone and is quite bulky, although Miss Morgan said she found it comfortable.
The joystick had 29 micro-controllers within the machine to react within milliseconds. The user can move in all directions, sit down, and ascend and descend stairs.
There are only ten worldwide and each is completely self-supporting.
Experts said within decades they hoped the device would be small enough to slip on under a pair of trousers.