Each day, the physical capabilities that technology gives us is incredible, and we're not just talking about texting friends at lightening pace, or the ability to see our energy consumption in real time. We're talking about the abilities given to us by new tech in the health industry, either to supplement or restore disabilities experienced by people across the globe.
Technology is giving us wonderful options for those of us with physical limitations. From the blind to the deaf, from amputees to burn victims, gadgets are creating a whole new realm of abilities.
Here are eight extraordinary technologies that hold promise for an easier life.
The Eyewriter is an outstanding invention for people unable to use their limbs. It is a set of glasses that can detect where a person's eyes are looking, allow them to literally draw with their eyes. Created for people diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the designers' goal for the Eyewriter project is to develop the most simple and inexpensive eye-tracking headset possible and open source the software so that ALS patients around the world can create art and images on their own.
2. The Luke Arm
Named as a Star Wars head nod to Luke Skywalker, the Luke arm is one of the most advanced prosthetic arms ever created. DARPA, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, awarded $US18 million in funding to Dean Kamen in 2005 to bring prosthetics into the 21st century, and boy did he. The Luke Arm is the first bionic upper limb to provide 18 degrees of freedom, a step up from its ancestors that only offer 3 degrees of freedom. It can be controlled by wiring the device to muscles or nerves or with a foot pedal. It even has a tactile feedback sensor in the hand allowing the wearer to sense what kind of pressure they're putting into their grip. Here is a video of Kamen showing off the arm earlier this year.
Kamen is an impressive inventor, coming up with several inventions intended to improve people's lives, from this Luke Arm to a water purifier that runs off of cow dung for people in developing nations. Check out more about Dean Kamen on Planet Green.