I was surprised to read in Popular Science that Dean Kamen’s iBot (an electric, motorized wheelchair which goes from four wheels to two wheels lifting the rider in the process, and can climb stairs,) has been discontinued due to costs. Neither insurance companies, nor Medicaid, wanted to foot the bill for this expensive, although amazing, power chair.
If you are lucky enough to have an iBot, HiZook notes that service will continue on the iBot until 2013.
HiZook also has a review of the Segway RMP 50 robotic platform, an omnidirectional powered platform that reminds me of something I read in comic books as a kid. Can you imagine using something like this as a base for a powered wheelchair?
Alright! Dean Kamen’s prosthetic “Luke” arm is one step closer to helping amputess, especially injured veterans:
Last week, VA announced the start of a three-year clinical trial that represents the first large-scale testing of the arm, a critical step before it can be made widely available. The first patient was fitted with an arm in April.
The device was developed by Deka Research and Development, the New Hampshire company whose founder, Dean Kamen, invented the Segway and various medical devices.
The robotic arm, nicknamed the “Luke arm” after the artificial arm worn by Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” films, allows those who have lost a limb up to their shoulder joint to perform movements while reaching over their head, a previously impossible maneuver for people with a prosthetic arm.