Austin Whitney didn’t want to graduate from college in a wheelchair. So he and the student engineers at U.C. Berkeley’s “Kaz Lab” built a machine that allowed him to stand up and walk across the commencement stage
By James VlahosPosted 08.30.2011 at 12:06 pm 6 Comments
Seven steps. A short, straight walk across a stage backed by blue and gold balloons, lit by camera flashes, and ringing with the cheers of 15,000 people in the track stadium at the University of California at Berkeley. For most of the class of 2011, traipsing across the carpeted commencement platform is a triumphal but essentially symbolic exercise. You don't even get your diploma, just a rolled-up note saying that one will be mailed.
A baby transporter for mobility-impaired children would ensure confidence, independence and proper cognitive development, researchers say. So they recommend babies start driving around on sonar-equipped robots.
At a rehabilitation conference in Las Vegas, researchers at Ithaca College described attaching a child seat to a Wii Fit balance board and mounting the whole setup on a Pioneer 3 robot. Like an infant Segway, it moves in whatever direction the baby leans, and built-in sonar helps avoid collisions.
Robots are a major part of the cultural fabric of Japan; they’re performing weddings, buying groceries and keeping people company. A team of researchers at the University of Tokyo is taking this robotic cultural immersion a step further — they’re making animal-robot hybrids. Sort of.
We've seen robotic exoskeletons before -- there's Lockheed's HULC that's designed to augment soldier performance, and then there's Raytheon's XOS that's more like an actual Iron Man suit -- but this one is different. REX, the Robotic Exoskeleton, is designed to help those usually bound to wheelchairs stand up and walk, and it should be commercially available later this year.
For those in a wheelchair with limited mobility, Toyota's new brainwave technology is a marvel. The rider of the wheelchair wears a cap that sends signals via a brain-scan electroencephalograph (BSE) to a computer that analyzes the input to steer the chair in real time, as seen here in a video.
What: Brain-Machine Interface by Honda, which lets you control a humanoid with your mind
Why: Disability affects one in five Americans.
Wow: Requires no surgical implants and boasts a 90 percent accuracy rate
Stevie Wonder, a voracious consumer of technology, wants manufacturers to make their products accessible to everyone.
Twenty-two-time Grammy winner Stevie Wonder has created new sounds, even genres, by absorbing and reshaping every musical and audio technology he's encountered.
"He's always the first," says Lamar Mitchell, one of Wonder's technology assistants. "He was the first one to have a sampler…He was one of the first guys messing with drum machine technology." The distinct sound of Wonder's 1972 blockbuster hit, Superstition, came from a novelty piano/electric guitar hybrid instrument called the Höhner Clavinet. "It was meant to be an electric harpsichord," said Mitchell. "And then something happened when Stevie got it."
Though blind, Wonder has mastered the visually-oriented personal computer—both PCs and Macs.