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Implant can exercise paralyzed muscles

London -- British scientists say they've developed a muscle stimulator implant no larger than a fingernail that will allow paraplegics to exercise paralyzed leg muscles.

Researchers with the U.K. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council project says it's the first device of its kind small enough to be implanted directly into the spinal canal and incorporates the electrodes and muscle stimulator in a single unit, reported Monday.

"The work has the potential to stimulate more muscle groups than is currently possible with existing technology because a number of these devices can be implanted into the spinal canal," Andreas Demosthenous of University College London said.

Robot legs for the paralyzed coming

San Antonio -- An Israeli company says it hopes to have a wearable "walker" on the market by the second half of 2011 that will allow paralyzed persons freedom of movement.

The ReWalk, developed by Argo Medical Technologies, consists of lightweight leg supports with motorized hip and knee joints, equipped with tilt sensors and a computer worn as a backpack, the San Antonio Express-News reported Monday.

Once strapped in, the wearer leans forward, and tilt sensors signal the computer to move the motorized joints of one "leg" and move it forward. As the wearer continues to lean, the other leg takes a step and the process of walking begins.