Esther Klang’s Healing Experience as a Wandercraft Exoskeleton Tester

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By Tiffiny Carlson, Executive Director of SPINALpedia

Living with both a brain injury and a spinal cord injury is never an easy road. These are the injuries that Esther Klang has had to live with since she was just 11 years old. And she’ll admit, it hasn’t been easy, but she recently had the opportunity to be one of the first people to try the much buzzed-out self-balancing walking exoskeleton from Wandercraft and an amazing thing happened – her years-long depression suddenly improved. Read on for a story of newfound hope, and the dawn of emerging technology.

Becoming an Accessibility Tester

“I had a relatively typical childhood growing up,” says Esther. “One day, a few weeks before my 11th birthday, I collapsed walking on the way to my school bus and was taken to the local ER where I had an MRI and was diagnosed with a tumor in my brain stem. I had surgery 2 weeks later to remove it, but the surgery was only partially successful and I was left with a large portion of the tumor still in my brain stem, and I became a quadriplegic with a tracheotomy as a result.”

Esther, now 29 years old, currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her parents and sister. Her injury also affects her vocal cords, which makes it hard for her to speak and be understood, which she says are the most challenging aspects of her injury. Fortunately, Esther still has relatively good sensation throughout her body. “I am very, very careful not to get pressure sores because I’ve had them numerous times and know how painful they are.”

As the years have passed after her injury, Esther heard about exoskeletons and was extremely interested in trying one. She was able to reach that goal, but she really wanted to try Wandercraft’s Atalante X exoskeleton due to it’s ability to self-balance; a new exoskeleton feature that many are excited about. Most exoskeletons cannot self-balance and require use of crutches or a walker to stay upright.

But simply being given the opportunity to try an advanced exoskeleton however isn’t just a matter of signing-up. The company must choose you. “I discovered Wandercraft on February 2nd, 2023 and filled out an online survey after they posted on the ‘Surveys & Studies’ page on United Spinal’s website,” Esther says. “And I received an email on March 29th from Jeanne Vanmairis’ physical therapist at Wandercraft, inviting me to try the Atalante X exoskeleton and I tried the Atalante X exoskeleton on April 21st.”

Esther says the fist time she walked in the Atalante X was amazing, but she was scared and kept thinking she was going to tip over. “It was the first time in 18 years that I was able to stand and walk independently freely without anyone supporting me and entirely with my own energy. I know that I wasn’t being rational (about falling over) because the Atalante X is extremely safe, and safer than any other exoskeleton I’ve used.”

Depression Subsides

After being chosen as an accessibility tester, Esther was able to walk in the Atalante X 9 times. And even though she was attached to an overhead harness each time, she says being able to walk so freely was life-changing. “I clearly remember every detail of the 9 times I was in the Atalante X. I felt like a complete human again. I feel empowered and ready to take on any challenge that faces me and have some of my independence back,” she says. “And there are numerous emotional benefits that are amazing, including increased respiratory, digestive and cardiovascular function.”

As for getting into the Atalante X exoskeleton, she says it takes around 3 minutes. Esther needs help strapping into the exoskeleton due to her paralyzed hands, but it’s worth it, as she loves it’s ability to self-stabilize. “Self-stabilizing doesn’t require me to hold onto a walker or crutches anymore,” she says. “It’s something I really love because I don’t have a strong enough grip to hold onto a walker and it’s an action that requires my complete concentration.”

While testing the exoskeleton, Esther experienced something she didn’t expect – a boost to her mood, which was something she needed. “It dragged me out of my dark deep hole of depression and despair,” she says. “And it would be cool to see if electrical stimulation could somehow be integrated into it,” saying it would exponentially add to it’s health benefits.
“Discovering the Atalante X is the best thing that happened to me since my surgery 18 years ago and my wish is that one day I will be able to take it home and use it in my house and walk around freely.”

Taking One Home

And it looks like her dream could come true. Wandercraft’s new Personal Exoskeleton was unveiled December 13th, 2023, at their New York City headquarters, and it is currently awaiting clearance from the FDA, however they’ve been accepting pre-orders since January. “I was honored to be there in-person at the unveiling,” says Esther, who saw a paraplegic man demonstrate the device. Watch

The future of the Wandercraft self-balancing exoskeleton is palpable. Yes it may be bulky and expensive (reportedly $174,000), but in the very near future we will be seeing these devices out in public if not already; even if the beginning price is out of reach for most. It’s a real self-balancing walking exoskeleton and it exists for purchase. After years of waiting, that unto itself is one pretty amazing feat.

Esther’s Thank Video to Wandercraft

Esther’s Youtube channel

— Esther’s Blog

— Have questions for Wandercaft? Reach out at and

Esther testing the Atalante X August, 2023, at Wandercraft’s lab.


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