Science and technology might seem really cool nowadays because they allow us to have the latest smartphones and computers, but let’s not get narrow-minded by how easy modern life is. We also keep moving forward in other fields of expertise and making life easier for people with mobility issues and other types of impairments is definitely one of technology’s most noble goals! Here is a list of 10 amazing inventions that promise to revolutionize the field of adaptive technologies.
1. Braille Edge 40 Communicator
The Braille EDGE 40 is not only a versatile piece of equipment. This high-quality Braille display works perfectly as a basic note taker, but it really reaches its full potential when used by blind or deaf people as a face to face communicator. Let’s open the door to evolution!
2. DEKA Bionic Arm
DEKA is revolutionising the world of prosthetics: this bionic arm is a great example of their work and a renovated hope for people who lost limbs, especially war veterans. And here is a fun fact about this technology that you probably don’t know: the arm was affectionately called “Luke”, after Luke Skywalker, the character from “Star Wars”.
3. First Thought-Controlled Bionic Leg
This amazing artificial leg, already dubbed as a “groundbreaking” creation, can read the signals sent by the brain. Are we finally closer to the holy grail of prosthetics?
4. Google’s Driverless Car
Google’s driverless car is already a famous technology, but it still scares people who are not ready to see a vehicle driving itself. The software that allows the car to be autonomous is called Google Chauffer and is still under development in the United States. The company doesn’t have plans to turn the technology into a commercial venture, but the future might change Google’s mind.
No, it is not a typo. This small vehicle is called Kenguru and is the first ever electrically powered vehicle especially developed for wheelchair users. The car might seem tiny, but is actually an idea that could become extremely useful around the world, allowing people in wheelchairs to be more independent.
6. Rewalk Exoskeleton Suit
What if people in wheelchairs affected by spinal cord injuries or other walking impairments could walk again without having to wait for years and years of physiotherapy? And what if there was hope for those that can never walk again? That is exactly why the ReWalk exoskeleton suit is being developed.
7. iBot Wheelchair
Another amazing project connected to DEKA. In this case, the ultimate goal is to reinvent the wheelchair: make it more modern, more flexible! This wheelchair can do a lot more than your usual wheeled device. First of all, it can climb stairs, but that is not its only “trick”. The iBot has been under development since 2000 thanks to the dedication of Dean Kamen within a partnership between DEKA and Johnson and Johnson's Independence Technology division.
8. Kapten Plus
The Kapten Plus is the best representative of the new generation of voice-controlled personal navigators. This high-performance device was designed to help visually impaired and blind people, helping the users feeling safer wherever they are.
9. PR2 Robot
This awesome robot means serious business! The two-armed and wheeled PR2 was Willow Garage's first major robot, with a size similar to a human. Although the device was designed as a common hardware and software platform for robot researchers, it is now “learning” how to execute simple tasks like folding towels or opening doors. In other words, it could become a personal assistant for people with special needs.
10. Tread Walk
The Tread-Walk is a personal mobility device developed by Fujie Lab that could make life easier for people with mobility issues, an important advance in a society that has a growing number of elders. And all that can happen in the near future!