The world of bionics has become the most beneficial scientific discovery in this century and because of that, there are a lot of people who now can live independently despite their disability. It’s a shame that most of the development for this kind of technology was created to address maimed soldiers from the battlefields. But as with all our ideas, they never seem to be important until a tragedy brings a need and with the onset of biotechnology, at least we can try and repair the damage with as much technical no how as we did to invent the weapons that done the damage in the first place.
The first FDA approved robotic exoskeleton was given the okay for home use back in June of 2014 and in that same month, we all got to see a paraplegic man make the World Cup’s opening kick using a mind controlled exoskeleton. Thanks to advances in biotechnology, replacing a severed limb or overcoming paralysis is becoming commonplace in the world. The IMES System which was developed by the Illinois Institute of Technology utilizes sensors placed inside muscles. A brain chip, a neurobridge, bypasses damaged nerves to stimulate the muscles of a paralyzed arm, hand or fingers. Lifehand 2, a joint collaboration by EPEL of Switzerland and SSSA of Italy is a robotic hand that can give the user the ability of touch and can determine if a object is soft, hard, round or square. ReWalk Robotics have moved forward in leaps and bounds with their motorized exoskeleton that assist with movements at the hips, knees, and ankles. Now those that were totally paralyzed can actually start to walk again. And with the latest technical wonder, 3-D printing, any and all things are possible.
While advances it technology is a great achievement, I believe the next task is to make it so that "everybody" has the chance to utilize the new science of robotics. No one should have to sit and watch a loved one suffer through paralysis of any kind just because the cost is too far out of reach. Politicians like to talk about helping the American people but mostly they talk loud and say nothing. When most new technologies come to light, they have been worked on and refined over years and come with a hefty price tag for research and development. But truth be told that a lot of funding for these projects come from taxpayers. Taxpayers who are placed on the back burners and are told that they can’t afford that 3-D plastic hand that could help a child grip his or her toy for the first time. We have billions to spend on weapons of war but when it comes to helping the poor and helpless, Republicans and some turn-coat Democrats like to talk about "broke America." While affordable healthcare is here for everyone, let’s go one step further and make new scientific achievements available to everyone also by making it affordable. A poor child's dream of gripping a baseball or a spoon or being able to hug his mother for the first time is just as precious as the well to do child's dream. Money should never be a barrier in making dreams come true.