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Disability

This biologically accurate set of robotic legs comprises simplified versions of the human ...

Moving forwards on two legs is one thing, walking with a recognizably human gait is quite another. While most humanoids have mastered the former, the latter is beyond the reach of most bipedal robots (though some are doing a good job at it) ... and there is a good reason for that. Recreating the way humans walk takes recreating the entire walking apparatus, complete with the skeletal, muscular and neural systems. That’s exactly what a group of researchers from the University of Arizona have done, creating what is reportedly the most biologically accurate set of robotic legs to ever walk the planet.  Read More

A paralyzed woman has used the experimental BrainGate neural interface system to get herse...

Last April, for the first time since she became paralyzed 15 years ago, a 58 year-old woman was able to get herself a drink of coffee – she did so via a robotic arm, which was controlled by her thoughts. Although that rather astounding feat took place over a year ago, it was just made public today, in a report published in the journal Nature. The woman was a volunteer test subject, in a clinical trial of the experimental BrainGate neural interface system. Although still very much in development, the system could someday restore mobility to people who have suffered paralysis or limb loss.  Read More

The Turny Evo is a system that moves a vehicle's seat through the door, so disabled passen...

People with limited mobility face a challenge when getting into a conventional vehicle. Not only do they have to put aside their crutches or get out of their wheelchair, but they are also required to step up and across the vehicle’s door sill and swivel themselves sideways onto the seat. One option is to get a converted van, with a side- or rear-mounted ramp. Autoadapt, however, is now offering an alternative. The Swedish company’s Turny Evo system actually lifts the front driver or passenger seat out the door of the vehicle, turns it toward the user, and lowers it down. Once the user has seated themselves, the seat and passenger are then pulled back inside, and driving can commence.  Read More

An experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer could allow people without the power of s...

Whether it’s people who can’t speak, or musicians looking for a new way of expressing themselves, both may end up benefiting from an experimental new gesture-to-voice synthesizer. The system was created at the University of British Columbia, by a team led by professor of electrical and computer engineering Sidney Fels. Users just put on a pair of sensor-equipped gloves, then move their hands in the air – based on those hand movements, the synthesizer is able to create audible speech.  Read More

A survivor of the 7/7 London bombings has created a smartphone app that makes it easier fo...

How do you figure out how to pilot a wheelchair around your city? Around 10 percent or more of the population live with a disability, so chances are that you, or someone you know, has this problem. You can't be certain if wheelchair access is available unless you laboriously phone ahead to inquire for every route and every destination. Some web information is available, but knowing where to find it and what search strings to use can be a real challenge. Enter the Ldn Access smartphone app, that helps people with disabilities easily find where there are step-free access ramps, usable toilet facilities, and other services for the disabled.  Read More

The Nike Sole is an attachment designed for use with Ossur's Flex-Run carbon fiber running...

By now, probably just about everyone has seen amazing footage of single- or double-amputee runners, using Össur's Flex-Run carbon fiber running blades. The springy substitutes for legs allow their users to run so fast and naturally, that there is currently a debate over whether or not it would be fair to allow athletes using them to compete against non-amputees. Carbon fiber isn't exactly known for its grippy qualities, however, so Nike has been working with one-legged triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, to create the equivalent of a shoe that could be used with the blades. The result is the Nike Sole.  Read More

Called AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System), the suit replicates what it might be like to b...

What does it really feel like to be 75 years old? A group of researchers in MIT's Agelab have created a suit to help people understand what it might be like to navigate the world as a senior citizen. Called AGNES (Age Gain Now Empathy System), the suit replicates what it might be like to be in a 75-year-old body, replicating dexterity, flexibility, motor, and visual elements into a suit that can be worn by people of all ages.  Read More

New Zealand's Car Parking Technologies has developed a system that detects when a non-disa...

What does it mean when a parking spot is marked with a wheelchair symbol? If you answered, “It means I can park there as long as I’m going to be quick,” you’re wrong – yet you’re also far from alone. Every day in parking lots all over the world, non-disabled drivers regularly use spaces clearly reserved for the handicapped. They often get away with it, too, unless an attendant happens to check while their vehicle is parked there. Thanks to technology recently developed by New Zealand’s Car Parking Technologies (CPT), however, those attendants could soon be notified the instant that a handicapped spot is improperly occupied.  Read More

Clikka Mouse is software designed for those who have trouble clicking a mouse

Not everyone can easily click a mouse. Many people with permanent motor disability have difficulties, along with those suffering Repetitive Stress Disorder or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and anyone recovering from hand surgery. Clikka Mouse is innovative "work around" software that addresses the problem and best of all, it's free.  Read More

The WHILL on display at the Tokyo Motor Show (Photo: Gizmag)

Wheelchair users with full use of their arms generally don't need electric wheelchairs ... but sometimes, especially if those users have long distances to cover, it sure would be nice to have one. Instead of going out and buying themselves a full electric wheelchair, however, those people may soon have the option of using a WHILL. Recently spotted by Gizmag staff at the Tokyo Motor Show, the prototype device clamps onto the wheels of an existing manual wheelchair, temporarily providing it with electric drive.  Read More

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