*Click Play To Begin Video*
The wheelchair has been providing mobility to those who cannot walk since the 6th century. In this video we see how the wheelchair may become obsolete to those who meet a few conditions. The Rewalk system that is represented in this video requires a user to have legs and dexterous hands/arms that are able to operate a small watch-like remote control. With leaning forward, the user commands the legs to move, but the type of movement is still controlled by the remote (walk, climb stairs, etc.). The inventor, Amit Goffer, sees his invention not just as a means of transportation, but "From the point of view of the disabled person it's self esteem, the dignity of the person. I mean sitting, being in a height of a child, a grown up in a height of a child is difficult." Amit is disabled himself, but he is a quadriplegic and cannot use the Rewalk because he does not have use of his arms.
Where will Goffer's new invention lead the disabled of the world? With the invention of legs that can move easily and safely at the lean of the user, bionic legs for those who do not have physical legs anymore, can be right around the corner. Balancing issues would definitely be an issue, as the legs must be able to fully support the weight of the individual Even though they may be able to use crutches to steady themselves, a fall could cause great harm considering the weight of the mechanisms and backpack. The cost is also a great concern. With the Rewalk product costing about $50,000 per patient, will this be accessible to the common person? Will the government's disability program help fund this type of "treatment" for those that cannot walk?
With the cost being so great for the Rewalk, we must look at the "pros" and their payoff. Getting the disabled on their feet not only gets them moving, but working. It would allow them to get jobs that they were previously unable to perform, providing income for their families and allowing them to pay off the initial debts of the Rewalk. Depression is also a serious problem for disabled people. Being able to get out of a chair, walk upright, and feel somewhat complete again, would have great effects on a person's self-esteem and confidence. As Goffer eluded to in his previous statement, the ability to stand makes a crippled person feel not so small or degraded.
This is a great advancement in medical technology that not only enables a weak body but strengthens a soul to stand. Furthering this research could lead to new bionic transportation and allow various handicaps to get on their feet again.
Link To Article: Bionic Legs - 1500 Years After the Wheelchair
Study Guide Questions:
1. According to the video/article, what is the name of the man using the bionic legs and how did he get injured?
2. What is the name of Amit Goffer's invention?
3. What is the current price of the bionic leg system?
Vittert, Leland. "Bionic Legs—1500 Years After the Wheelchair « Liveshots." Liveshots. 16 Jan. 2011. Web. 13 Mar. 2011. http://liveshots.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/01/16/bionic-legs-1500-years-after-the-wheelchair/?test=latestnews.