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Friday, November 9, 2012

Making Wheelchairs a Thing of the Past

 It used to be that with one tragic accident a person would lose their ability to have feeling in and ability to use their lower extremities. Becoming a paraplegic used to mean life spent in a wheel chair adapting to a world that was designed for walking. Instead of spending years attempting to build new, previously unused, muscles and relearning basic life skills all over again technology may be advancing enough to return normality to a paraplegics life.

Ongoing research from NASA and other institutes such as universities are developing robots that would assisit in the aiding and restricting of movement for astronauts and paraplegics. NASA's robot is being designed to provide resitance to astronauts legs in a gravity-free environment so that they can keep their muscle tone, leading to healthier astronauts. NASA says that their robot can also work the other way on earth by providing power to otherwise useless legs. The robot would look like the picture posted above.

Similarly, university research is producing the same type of design and results. As seen in the video above with the help of balancing aids such as crutches and counter-balances, someone who has no control of their legs could walk again. This could lead to a society where wheel chairs are no longer needed, and everyone would be able to access any location and reach up to any location. These robots could eliminate the tragic effects that paralysis now has on peoples lives.

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