In a darkly hilarious scene at the end of the movie Dr. Strangelove, the world is coming to an end as a Soviet Doomsday Device triggers the Apocalypse. Just then, Peter Sellers (who plays Strangelove) rises from his wheelchair and shouts to the US President, “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!”
I was reminded of this scene when I read a more serious and encouraging article about ReWalk, an Israeli exo-skeletal device that allows paraplegics to walk. The inventor, Amit Goffer designed the device for himself after suffering an accident in 1997.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQRQs-N-ZIM&w=425&h=350]
The idea is pretty simple: strap a set of padded, motorized struts on the legs and waist, and connect them to sensors and controllers that allow the wearer to get around. The device lets people walk, ascend and descend stairs, and generally get back toward more normal function. The fact that it has actually been done is amazing and life-changing.
In addition to increasing mobility, the device helps prevent health problems that typically plague the wheelchair bound, such as urinary and digestive problems and pressure sores.
No doubt it will be useful for paralyzed war veterans, too.
The device is being commercialized by Goffer’s company, Argo Medical Technologies.
Dr. Strangelove is one of the best movies of all time and you haven’t seen it you must.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxrWz9XVvls&w=425&h=350] March 31, 2011