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Disability

— Robotics

Mind-controlled telepresence robot to get paralyzed people out and about

By - June 30, 2015 2 Pictures

A telepresence robot developed at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) that can be controlled by thought may give people with severe motor disabilities a greater level of independence. Successfully put through its paces by 19 people scattered around Central Europe – nine of whom are quadriplegic and all of whom were hooked up to a brain-machine interface – the robot handled obstacle detection and avoidance on its own while the person controlling it gave general navigation instructions.

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— Health and Wellbeing

TheraTryke combines upper and lower body exercise for paraplegics

By - May 25, 2015 3 Pictures

After taking a look at the Jet Blade hydroplaning watercraft last week, we were alerted to another senior design project from Calvin College, Michigan. A different group of students has designed and prototyped a device they're calling the TheraTryke. Aimed at those with MS, spinal cord injuries, or complete paraplegics, it lets riders use their hands, feet or a combination of both together to propel themselves forward.

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— Science

Spinal implant could one day let paralyzed people walk again

By - January 9, 2015 3 Pictures
Three years ago, scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) reported success in getting rats with severed spinal cords to walk again. They did so by suspending the animals in a harness, then using implants to electrically stimulate neurons in their lower spinal cord. Although this ultimately resulted in the rats being able to run on their previously-paralyzed hind legs, the technology still wasn't practical for long-term use in humans. Thanks to new research conducted at EPFL, however, that may no longer be the case. Read More
— Outdoors

Rocket Mobility targets disabled outdoors lovers with all-terrain wheelchairs

By - December 18, 2014 8 Pictures
Whoever said that losing your mobility also meant giving up your independence? We've already seen that the adventurous wheelchair user or walking-impaired person can head off road with a six-wheeled electric all-terrain vehicle or a caterpillar-tracked micro EV drive train. Now there's another option: Rocket Mobility's Tomahawk all-terrain personal utility vehicle, which allows the wheelchair-bound to traverse up to 12 miles (19 km) cross country at a maximum speed of 6 mph (10 km/h). Read More
— Robotics

Quadriplegic successfully uses mind-controlled robotic arm

By - December 18, 2014 3 Pictures
In 2012, a quadriplegic woman managed to move a robotic arm, using only her thoughts, to a level of proficiency that allowed her to eat a chocolate bar using said arm. The University of Pittsburgh team behind the study didn't stop there, though. By improving the technology in the arm and working more closely with test subject Jan Scheuermann, they have since enabled her to replace the simple pincer grip of before with four new hand shapes – fingers spread, pinch, scoop, and thumb up – that allow for more complicated object manipulation. Read More

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