NORTH HARBOUR, New Zealand, Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Rex Bionics Ltd., the company developing a robotic exoskeleton enabling wheelchair users to walk, announced formation of an International Advisory Board that includes Emmy Award-winning U.S. talk show host Montel Williams. Also named to the new board were Michael Thorner, professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va., and Frank Gardner, the BBC's award-winning Security Correspondent.
"Each of these distinguished individuals is a strong advocate for the disabled," said Rex Bionics CEO Jenny Morel. "Rex Bionics is committed to seeing the world from the point of view of potential customers and we welcome the perspective that these eminent people will bring to the company."
Williams, a former Naval Officer who also served in the Marines, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and has raised millions of dollars through his non-profit foundation to further scientific research and education about MS.
"Rex Bionics offers hope to people no longer able to walk, including many MS patients and military veterans wounded in conflicts," said Williams. "Along with my fellow board members, I look forward to sharing my personal insights so Rex Bionics can provide lifestyle benefits to these individuals."
Both Thorner and Gardner use wheelchairs. Thorner sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident 17 years ago; in 2004 Gardner suffered major injuries when he was shot six times at close range by Al-Qaeda gunmen while filming in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
When introduced to the Rex exoskeleton, Thorner said: "I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime."
According to Gardner, "As a wheelchair user myself I can testify to the benefits of being able to escape from that chair, stand up and look your friends in the eye. It's one of the greatest feelings in the world."