Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Exoskeletons are getting really good.

SRI has been working on this project for a few years, but it was the first time I'd seen it in real life and it really filled me with joy.

You see, this is science near and dear to my heart. As a child we had a close family friend who went out drinking. Passed out that night with his arm trapped between the bedpost and the wall. When he woke up the blood had been cut off to his arm, and they had to take it. This was back in the day when prosthetics looked like claw hands, and you used rubber bands to provide tension. It really affected me as a kid because he would tell us stories of the people who were in therapy with him. One was mauled by a bear and lost both legs and both arms. It was just really affecting how these people carried on with their lives afterward. I tried to be ambidextrous for a long time after that. The memories have always stuck with me and I'm always delighted at how much progress is being made to make these peoples lives more normal. Here.

I think the war has helped with the overall acceptance of people missing limbs. I love that prosthetics are at least somewhat fashionable these days.

The first thing that really excited me about seeing the Ekso exoskeleton was it looked like you could wear it under clothes and almost no one would know. It weighs only fifty pounds. I think people with traumatic injuries probably get tired of the extra attention a life altering injury hoists on them. I think they want to just look as normal as they can. The electronics in the back have gotten really small as you can see from this picture. Barely bigger than a back pack. Watch the video at the end because science may not be able to fix everything, but it can at least make things a little better. Eventually.

This gentleman was able to wear the Ekso to his wedding where he could stand instead of being in a chair. It's just really amazing stuff.

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