"Robot" devices for mobility from Toyota
Referencing: Toyoto i-foot and i-unit
Gizmodo says "Thank you, Toyota. I was afraid there for a while Japan had stopped being suitably weird.", which in my opinion is an utterly stupid comment.
My father-in-law suffered a major stroke several years ago and has been wheel-chair bound ever since. He has since become partially aphasic also, which may have been from additional brain damage or may be depression; nobody seems quite certain about that. The "state of the art" in wheelchairs isn't much to brag about - we bought him a $1,200.00 unit last year and it's uncomfortable, unwieldy, and really serves as nothing more than a way for someone else to push him around. He has no mobility, and his fate is to simply lie or sit in whatever position someone else puts him. It's sad, and there are so many others in similar straits.
If we had "mobility suits" today, I'm not sure he could benefit, but I know he could have a year or so back, and if his present state is from depression, having some control over his own movement might have lessened that.
Certainly other victims of strokes, spinal injury, amputees, etc. could benefit from future versions of these devices. No, I'm not forgetting medical advances, and I certainly hope we can continue making progress there with or without the roadblocks of religious interference. There may well come a day when we can "fix" disabilities and restore these poor people to normal lives. But that day may be far away, and I applaud Toyota and other companies involved in this sort of work: mobility devices, assistant robots, all of it. These things can make a real difference for real people.
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