Last fall California-based Berkeley Bionics unveiled a “wearable robot” called eLEGS, an exoskeleton adapted from technology currently being tested for U.S. foot soldiers. Users strap on a backpack containing a battery and microprocessor, then bionic legs with motorized joints at the hips and knees. Sensors in handheld crutches issue instructions to the backpack computer, which relays them to the legs. Walking is simple: Shifting weight to the left crutch, for example, initiates a step forward with the right foot. Trials begin this year.