According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, somewhere between 236,000 to 327,000 people in the US are living with serious spinal cord injuries. About 155,000 have paraplegia. But being able to stand and walk again is something that may someday come to be realized, say engineers at the Vanderbilt University Center for Intelligent Mechatronics, Nashville, TN.

They have developed a powered exoskeleton that can enable those with severe spinal cord injuries to not only stand, but to walk, sit, and climb stairs. The robotic suit is light in weight, compact in size, and modular in design.

The university has several patents pending on the design and Parker Hannifin Corporation, Cleveland, OH, a global leader in motion and control technologies, just signed an exclusive licensing agreement to develop a commercial version of the device, which it plans on introducing in 2014.