Robotic device helps bionic groom walk down aisle Jordan Basile, left, and Matt Ficarra, center, exchange wedding vows (AP photos)
Robotic device helps bionic groom walk down aisle
Lexile

Matt Ficarra has been paralyzed from the chest down since a boating accident three years ago, but that didn't stop him from walking down the aisle.

Ficarra was able to stand and walk during the wedding ceremony with the help of a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton called an Ekso. Ficarra has been paralyzed since he broke his neck in a boating accident in 2011. He married Jordan Basile on Saturday in the ballroom of a hotel.

"It feels great to be married,'' said Ficarra, 30. "And I am so happy to have met my goal of walking at my wedding."

Ficarra told reporter Elizabeth Doran of the Syracuse Post-Standard that he has been driving seven hours to Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network in Allentown, Pa. weekly since April in order to practice walking with the apparatus. Since his engagement in December, he's vowed he would not roll down the aisle in a wheelchair.

The portable bionic exoskeleton helps patients whose legs are paralyzed stand and walk. Ficarra said it feels incredibly natural to walk with the device, and loves being able to stand his full 6-foot height.

"It's spectacular,'' said Frank Ficarra, Matt's father. "I am so proud of him. He's determined and he accomplishes what he sets out to do."

"He doesn't give up on anything. He's a gem."

Critical thinking challenge: Why must the device be portable?

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COMMENTS (94)
  • ImanB-1
    10/24/2014 - 10:09 a.m.

    A man named Matt Ficarra had broken his neck and got paralyzed from the chest down during a boat accident in 2011. He was getting married, and vowed not to roll down down the aisle in a wheelchair. That's when they created Ekso,a battery-powered robotic exoskeleton that helps Matt walk. He managed to walk, naturally,and marry his soon to be wife. I think it is cool that you can make exoskeleton for you legs that can help you walk almost naturally.

  • katem-Orv
    10/24/2014 - 12:38 p.m.

    This is so cool, that much mean so much to him that he can WALK down the aisle on his wedding day. I think the device needs to be portable because he probably doesn't wear it to bed, so it makes it easy to take off.

  • kayleeng-Ros
    10/24/2014 - 12:52 p.m.

    Wow just wow. Ficarra was very determent that he would vow to that! although if you think of going to a wedding with a wheel chair that would be embarrassing, but he made it look good.

  • JH2001skate
    10/24/2014 - 01:01 p.m.

    it needs to be portable because he needs to take it off and in the car or a place like that. And has to be easy to carry around for the times he is not using it

  • ce2001sparkle
    10/24/2014 - 01:03 p.m.

    The device must be portable because he must be able to take the device on and off. He should be able to move in it.

  • MS01bestfreind
    10/24/2014 - 01:06 p.m.

    I think that this invention was amazing. Who ever made it is like a goddess! This invention is going to make a bunch of dreams come true, for those who aren't able to walk .

  • CharismaM
    10/24/2014 - 01:28 p.m.

    I think it's amazing how they were able to create something so advanced. Matt finally got his dream of walking down the aisle and getting married. It's inspirational to see that he never gave up his dream and pursued it.

  • ratiaira
    10/24/2014 - 01:30 p.m.

    that is so cool i would really buy that just so i can walk in it Lol.this story is amazing he is 6ft tall and he can walk now all because of this machine they need to make more of these so everyone can walk after being paralyzed.

  • BrynnDani
    10/24/2014 - 01:31 p.m.

    I really enjoyed reading this story. This man has a tremendous amount of courage and determination. I can't imagine how much strength it would have taken to set such a high goal and work towards it. I'm sure he felt an immense amount of pride and accomplishment as he walked down the isle after being told he could never walk again.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    10/24/2014 - 10:25 p.m.

    Wow, a robotic Exoskeleton leg would have worked on a paralyzed that couldn't stand or walk on his legs any more, so he gets a robotic leg so it would help him walk at the wedding so he would get married from someone else so he would finally walk at last so he wouldn't be limping or go at a wheelchair or something like that, it is cool technology that would have a man walking without a wheelchair so he would be needed to be walking by himself.
    Critical thinking challenge: Why must the device be portable?
    Answer: The man needed a portable device so it would help him walk all by himself.

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