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. On Saturday, he married Jordan Basile in the ballroom of 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 and 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 (19)
  • LDakota-Sti
    10/24/2014 - 12:06 p.m.

    I think that is really cool, I personally think they could have a robot that does chores one day, WOULDN'T THAT BE COOL!! Thank you science!!!!!!!

  • RM00charlie
    10/24/2014 - 01:07 p.m.

    the device has to be portable because the device is suppose to help people with walking if It wasn't protable there would be no point into using the device

  • 22103
    10/24/2014 - 01:33 p.m.

    Recently a man that has been paralyzed for several years walked down the aisle. With the help of an exoskeleton he walked. This is a good thing because a man who had the life goal of walking to his wife. I don't think that there is a single thing wrong with this story. I find it interesting that this kind of technology exists.

  • AlexisKrise
    10/24/2014 - 01:35 p.m.

    Seeing things like this is what I love hearing about on the news. As our scientific abilities progress, we should be helping people with their ailments, not focused on how these things can be used in wars. If everyone thought only about wars and rivalries, there would be only fights and chaos. Instead, because of people, like the person who built this robotic walking device, we have at least partial harmony for the time being. Maybe one day the world will be a better place where people don't have to grow up worried about whether or not a friend or family member will come back from war. This gives me hope, even if it won't happen until the far future, it still gives me hope.

  • MadisonSch
    10/26/2014 - 08:34 p.m.

    This machine is great! People who cannot walk can finally walk again or for the first time. This contraption helps the user stand and walk and it feels natural, just like regular legs.

  • claudiam-Koc
    10/27/2014 - 01:58 a.m.

    The device must be portable because the assistance the costumer needs. He or she would need help to place on. The portability helps a lot by being easy to carry also. This device is better by being light and not heavy, not challenging for those who really needs the help of this device.

  • DD2001green
    10/27/2014 - 08:42 a.m.

    The device must be portable because if the man takes the Ekso anywhere else, it cant be hooked up to long wires. So if its portable, then he'll have a much easier time getting around.

  • TreyvaunT
    10/27/2014 - 01:29 p.m.

    That's really cool that he can still be able to walk even though he is paralyzed. Especially that he was able to walk during his wedding. It had to be one of the best days of his life.

  • lexusg-Man
    10/29/2014 - 12:52 p.m.

    Im glad he didn't give up. I give him props to keep pursuing what he wanted. He never gave up and he got what he wanted and thats what i like to see people do. Never give up.

  • MikaylaStazewski-Ste
    10/30/2014 - 11:45 a.m.

    Stuff like this is truthfully what keeps the world going round. It is amazing to see such things as this occurring. It melts my heart; I love it.

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