Sunday, May 22, 2011
Robotic sciense helps paraplegic student walk.
No matter how successful, rich and famous you are and no matter how careful and thoughtful you may be you could be involved in a car accident. In fact most people in developed countries have at least one trivial or serious accident involving cars in their lifetime. This is the case of Austin Whitney. A young man having just completed high school and scheduling to continue his studies. He was ambitious and hardworking but he made a mistake. He got involved in a car accident back in 2007, after drinking and driving and was left paralyzed. The doctors said he could never walk again. At a point in life such as this a man needs a lot of strength to carry on and most of the times he needs support from friends and family. This time Austin had also the support of science. A professor at Berkeley University created an exoskeleton light and affordable to help paraplegics walk again. There are other exoskeletons in the market but their cost, being over $100,000, is just prohibitive. The exoskeleton that was created by the Berkeley team costs a fraction of the price of others at $15,000. With that price you get a lightweight but strong exoskeleton with a battery life of 8 hours. This exoskeleton helped Austin walk to the podium and receive his graduation title in front of a crowd that kept silence through this effort. Since that day, Austin and others like him can look at the future with hope for a better life.
sources: Austin Whitney, UC Berkeley, San Francisco Chronicle