This is one of the stories I really enjoyed writing, as it deals with technology that can really change people's lives for the better, with immediate results. I think this type of work is quite meaningful and shows how robotics that the military was working on for soldiers in combat (something we think of as violent and life-threatening) can help someone regain a part of their life that may have been taken away by paralysis. I like to see this sort of research and development coming from both the military and the private sector.
Elizabeth, thanks for writing this. It was fun to see some detailed information about one of the robotic exoskeletions DN has covered in slideshows: http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=240513 http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=255355
@Elizabeth – It's nice to see how technology has helped mankind. The human body is a complicated machine, if a robot could be a part of it that's a great achievement. Medical and technology needs to both go hand in hand to make the device user-friendly and hassle-free.
Great article. And fantastic to see the technology actually helping someone real in the present, as opposed to being a "futuristic thing" as Tagatac himself called it.
The spread of technology from the US defense and space R&D efforts are incredible and have changed all of our lives in ways that most people don't realize. I think this reality is what is most scary about our Congress cutting back funding somewhat indiscriminately (well, threatening to cut back in theory, for the foreseeable future) - a lot of this research will not/cannot happen in the private sector.
What a wonderful article and great example of technology trickledown. It was almost inevitable that research work on defense exoskeletons could be used in this way. Let's hope the research work continues, and companies like Ekso can keep developing the technology for uses such as this.
This is a great article seeing technology help people's lives. It is like the power suit in Aliens. It also reminds you to constantly stay safe when working. A small misstep can change your life forever.
Thank you, Tim! Yes, it is amazing to think how quickly someone's life can change so drastically, and a good reminder for all of us, in whatever we're doing, to pay attention. Accidents beyond our control can always happen, of course, but many can be avoided. I enjoyed talking with Chris, the man in the article, because he had such a positive and determined outlook about his life even after his accident, and is handling his paralysis with grace and perseverance.
Thank you, Chuck. Yes, it seems more than practical for an exoskelton to be used in this manner and I'm glad Ekso has commercialized it. I'm sure a lot more can be done with the right investment in research and development.
I do have to agree with you, Mydesign, even though I appreciate shehan's comments and understand what the point is. But while sometimes someone with an amputation or with paralysis (the latter being the case in this story) may feel like their life has no meaning in their darkest times, I agree, it's simply not true. And people like Chris in the article, through the use of technology like Ekso, are showing how technology can help restore people's lives back to the way they were before they suffered paralysis or something that took away their ability to walk.
I, too, understand Shehan's viewpoint, Liz. Losing the use of our legs is a pain that most of us can't fathom. At the same time, though, meaningful life can definitely continue. A friend of mine lost the use of his legs after a shooting and he subsequently made it through law school. He's now a judge and one of the most amazing people I know. I'm proud just to know him.
Thanks for sharing that link, Pubudu. As we've all shared, there are some amazing people who overcome physical adversity, and if technology can be invented to help them, then it's doing everyone a true service. And it's also nice that technology was the starting point for such a positive discussion about life and appreciating what things we take for granted, like the use of our limbs. I'll keep my eyes open for similar types of technology that's worthy of coverage.
Yes, shehan, this is what I like most about covering these types of technologies. I am fortunate enough to have all of my limbs and to be in good health and I enjoy surfing nearly every day, so I can only imagine what it must feel like to not be able to do something you love so much, or even walk. So i think these are the types of technologies that companies with the money and expertise should focus more on, not on technologies for war. But that is just my opinion. That said, i am glad to see a military technology being used for something like this.
Yes mydesign, think about the disable people at the war, how many are there with disability after doing the lot of sacrifice for their countries. How nice if they can walk and joined to the work force again.
"Yes mydesign, think about the disable people at the war, how many are there with disability after doing the lot of sacrifice for their countries. How nice if they can walk and joined to the work force again. "
Pubudu, exactly. Recently I had seen a similar situation with a pet dog in one of my friend's house. For the dog, it's both back legs got paralyzed and not able to move. My friend had made similar leg like structure with cast iron and fixed it on its back bone. Now they are training the dog, how to walk with this artificial legs.
Indeed, Mydesign, technology like what Ekso provides will definitely help people readjust to a normal life after a disability and hopefully also return to doing many of the things they did before they became disabled. People are incredibly resilient and can be trained to use artificial limbs and other types of walking mechanisms, especially if they have the right tools and technology to help them overcome this type of injury.
"People are incredibly resilient and can be trained to use artificial limbs and other types of walking mechanisms, especially if they have the right tools and technology to help them overcome this type of injury."
Yes, Elizebeth. With proper training and artificial limbs, they can lead a normal life and many of the peoples are doing like that.
Excellent article. This technology looks like it has the potential to improve the lives of many people. Would be interesting to learn more about the algorithms for "commanding" motion and how easy it is for patients to adjust to the exoskeleton system. Thanks.
Agreed, Al. Much research effort has been invested in the idea of restoring the neurological use of lost limbs and, while that's important research, it's nice to see technologies that can offer solutions today, in our lifetime.