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Instead of a Wheel Chair, How About an Exoskeleton?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the yes-please dept.

Medicine 232

New submitter the_newsbeagle writes "This year, Ekso Bionics will roll out its most sophisticated exoskeleton ever. The company's robotic walking suit, called the Ekso, allows paraplegics to get back on their feet and walk on their own. The first commercial model will be sold to rehab hospitals for on-site physical therapy, but the company plans to have a model ready for at-home physical therapy by the end of 2012. In a few years, they plan to sell an Ekso that a paraplegic person can wear to the post office, to work, etc."

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Awesome, but.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573728)

I still consider it a transitionary solution, useful, but only until we can grow organs and nerve tissue and basically fix people like we fix machinery :)

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573830)

Depends on how you look at it. Personally I would rather be a machine made out of non-biological components. If I could transfer my brain into a computer today I would do it.

Biological systems are too erratic for my tastes. I want perfect consistency.

Re:Awesome, but.. (3, Insightful)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574118)

And backups.

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574164)

Mechanical systems require a lot of maintenance (consider how often you change the oil in your car vs how often you get your blood removed and filtered).

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574222)

How often do you have to do maintenance on your computer?

No moving parts there. Lots of moving parts in the body. Magnificently engineered, sure, but lots of moving parts. Much better to exist as a perfect simulation in an editable virtual world.

Re:Awesome, but.. (2)

Garble Snarky (715674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574274)

Every two years, when I buy a new one?

Re:Awesome, but.. (4, Insightful)

Rhacman (1528815) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575130)

This. Also, I've seen no less than three hard-drives that began failing a few weeks out of the box. In another instance I sent back a defective video card that was still under warranty. The replacement that was sent to me had a cooling fan that wouldn't spin due to large solder blobs shorting out power connector not to mention a surface mount capacitor that was mounted about 45 degrees out of alignment. Even if we assume that new equipment is perfect, computer hardware is not very tolerant to damage and certainly not self-repairing in the way the human body is. Add to all this we still don't know what type of system would be required to emulate a human being so it is quite a stretch to compare maintenence of modern systems to maintaining a human body. Another thing to consider is that if you think nuclear bombs / solar flares are scary now, just wait until you exist as a computer simulation and can be wiped out by an EMP. Lastly, I don't much care for the prospect of being built out of parts made in China let alone the motives of the software developers... even if it is open source.

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574366)

How often do you eat? Drink? go to the bathroom? Mechanical systems would cut back on that. Even Data from Star Trek drank a chemical to lube his inner workings. And not to mention when break downs occur, easy to replace until you are in a unit that they quit making parts for.
  I just hope apple doesn't get a pantent on this, also they would most likely cut out any kind of mechanical sex. What a walled garden that would be.

Re:Awesome, but.. (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574442)

how often you get your blood removed and filtered

Never, I've got internal devices to do it.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574948)

And biological systems don't? I spent almost a year back in the '90s getting my blood removed and filtered three times a week...trust me, it sucks. If you ever get the chance to avoid dialysis, I highly recommend it ;) Having the ability to remove and replace a modular component when it wears out or breaks would be the biggest advantage of a mechanical device over a biological one, IMHO.

Re:Awesome, but.. (3, Interesting)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574322)

That would take the term "Blue Screen of Death" to a whole new level.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574406)

So... which is it? Do you want to transfer your brain to a computer, or do you want perfect consistency?
Or have you never seen two identical computers run the same program differently?

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574818)

Computers aren't magic. Two systems, given the exact same hardware, software, and configuration should produce exactly the same results for a given program, unless there is a hardware defect somewhere (e.g. bad RAM) or there was deliberate randomness introduced.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574410)

The Biological Body can heal, and perform well beyond normal operational limits.

One long power outage. A cooling fan that dies when you are in deep though you over head. and your dead.

Re:Awesome, but.. (2)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575068)

I would rather be a machine made out of non-biological components

I'm sorry. I would rather enjoy the biological thrills of existence. You can't program an orgasm, or a laugh, or the thrill of looking down into a 1,200 foot chasm beneath your feet.

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575132)

I would rather be a machine made out of non-biological components

I'm sorry. I would rather enjoy the biological thrills of existence. You can't program an orgasm, or a laugh, or the thrill of looking down into a 1,200 foot chasm beneath your feet.

Yet...

Re:Awesome, but.. (3, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574054)

I still consider it a transitionary solution, useful, but only until we can grow organs and nerve tissue and basically fix people like we fix machinery :)

It's interesting you think that, as it's rather the opposite of the trend of science-fiction and posthumanist fantasizing.

For the former, Larry Niven's Known Space universe (such as the tales in Flatlander [amazon.com] ) had organ transplantation as a widely implemented medical solution (amusingly leading to the death penalty for even minor crimes), but eventually ended by alloplasty, "gadgets instead of organs".

For the latter, Ray Kurzweil and his fans hope that we'll be able to upload our brains into computers any day now. And that's understandable, since a civilization that has technology advanced enough to produce new biological parts in vitro may be on the cusp of transcending biology entirely.

Re:Awesome, but.. (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574154)

I personally wouldn't upload my brain into a computer for the same reason that I'd never agree to use a Star Trek style transporter if one is ever invented. Both are essentially a method of suicide that gets covered up by a replacement that appears to be the original.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574268)

You need to have your brain coexist with the new one for some amount of time so your consciousness transfers to the new one seamlessly. Communication between the two parts is VITAL, for the very reason you stated. With a transfer to a computer, it would be much easier than with a transporter, as it could be done by steps in a highly controlled manner.

Re:Awesome, but.. (5, Insightful)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574368)

Ok, let's assume you connect, allow consciousness to transfer, then sever the connection but *don't* destroy the biological part. Who am I? I'd wager I'd still be the biological one, albeit the sillicon part may be a perfect copy. Now, kill the biological part. I'm dead. Thanks, but no, thanks. Not until we pinpoint conscience beyond "I think therefore I am".

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574802)

I prefer a gradual replacement of the brains circuitry with non-biological parts. If we can build them with all the capabilities (current processing along with learning ability), I think that would be ideal. That way there would never be 2 of you or a transfer and shutdown of the original. Wouldn't be much different from what the body already does.

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574894)

new neurons are created and old ones die, the process is slow but with a decade or three (perhaps four) if you used neuron emulation chips to substitute for the reduced rate of regrowth due to aging you could end up all "inside" the software

Re:Awesome, but.. (2)

gorzek (647352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574840)

The problem is that the continuity of existence you perceive as "you" will end the moment your original body is destroyed. The new body and mind will be identical to the original in every way--except that the conscious existence of the original is gone.

Everyone else will see that person as you, but from your own perspective, you're dead.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574978)

Precisely what I was getting at. Personally I don't really care about other people when it comes to things like this. I might consider donating my consciousness to a robot to further my works, but a transfer is definitely not something that I would ever consider. Death is ultimately inevitable and even in the case of a transfer the essential bits of me would still be dead.

Re:Awesome, but.. (2)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574384)

I'm not that much of a trekkie to know the workings of the transporter. However, if it'd somehow physically move all my atoms to another place, in the same configuration, I'd go in. If it copies and reproduces, then destroys the original, I concur with you. Thanks but no thanks.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Soluzar (1957050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574660)

I actually read a pretty decent sci-fi book based on this premise. The idea of copying and reproducing a body to teleport it. It had some interesting things to say on the subject. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_Moon [wikipedia.org] The point of copying and reproducing was explicitly so that one of the two copies might now be expendable.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574416)

I believe I read somewhere that the transporters in the Star Trek shows actually transferred the original matter of your body from one point to another, in the form of energy, so there is no replacement. In theory, at least, it's exactly the same person that steps out one the other side, not a clone, and the connection to the "mind" or "soul" or "sense of self", or whatever you want to call it, remains unbroken. The original models provoked riots for exactly the reason you stated, once people understood how they worked.

Anyway, I think the brain-upload could be done without cloning you or destroying your identity, if it was done gradually enough. Replace one cell at a time with a computer simulation of that cell's function, in the same way that the cells continually rebuild themselves from raw materials any yet maintain the same identity. In the end you would have an all-electronic brain, and yet your individuality would have remained intact throughout the process.

Re:Awesome, but.. (4, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574558)

Tell that to Thomas Riker.

Re:Awesome, but.. (5, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574496)

98% of the atoms on your body are replaced ever year [wordpress.com] , whether or not you take a ride in a transporter. So, "you" are not a certain set of particles, but rather a self-propagating pattern.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574918)

That's a bit like suggesting that because I've replaced the individual parts in my car that I no longer have the same car and that it's exactly the same as if I were to just buy a new car. I don't personally agree with that notion, at some point you do have to agree that replacing enough stuff quickly enough and you no longer have the original to work with.

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575124)

So then, you aren't you after a year then?

You just read, "98% of the atoms in your body are replaced every year", and you make a comparison to a car.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

nine932038 (1934132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575136)

That's absolutely correct, but the point is the continuity in the self-propagating pattern. The person I am today is distinct, both in terms of mental state and composition, from the person I was ten years ago, but it's not like we think of ourselves as the murderers of our previous iterations.

I am not comfortable with the concept of losing the continuity in my self-propagating pattern. I've come to enjoy it. :)

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574430)

I'd think it is a new step in posthumanist fantasies rather than a reversal. This science fiction (specifically Niven's "Flatlander" stories published 1975) predates most of the advances of biotechnology, including the human genome project (1984-2003) and successful genetic engineering (first breakthrough in 1973). Just as Asimov's Multivac was a city-spanning vacuum-tube based supercomputer with a teletype interface because he couldn't conceive of nanoscopic transistors and LCDs, science fiction authors had trouble imagining artificial prosthetics that were squishy and yet equal or superior to what we're born with.

Now that tissue can be grown, expectations are raised and aesthetics become a concern. Given the choice, most would prefer being repaired or augmented while looking "natural" rather than like a steampunk cyborg. Even non-organic stuff like pacemakers or reinforced bones can be small, inconspicuous, and hidden away inside us.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574682)

David Brin's Kiln People was an excellent entry into the "copying people" genre.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

expatriot (903070) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574886)

I have always been puzzled by what the uploading of consciousness could mean. Uploading knowledge sure, but what could it mean to upload our individual sense of being ourselves? Even something that thinks just like me is not me.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574356)

Well there is always the transitional solution.

Robotic Assist devices like this give us promise now (or in the near future) regrowing organs and limbs may take far longer time, or not at all. If you are injured you might as well get the assist now then wait around hoping for a full cure.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

glueball (232492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575008)

Short sighted thinking and way to make the injured feel second class.

What if I am an able bodied person and I want these improvements because they are better than my original equipment? What if, because of these exoskeletons, we may one day say "wow, those paraplegics are sooooo lucky because they get the automatic leg upgrade"

I work with a lot of injured and the last thing they need is to feel like they are waiting for yet another technology like regrowing organs.

The exoskeleton performance amplifier *is* the solution.

Re:Awesome, but.. (1)

Taty'sEyes (2373326) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574610)

But you changed the question... the options offered were wheel chair or exoskeleton? It wasn't about going off onto the tangent of whether it's transitionary or not... Of course it's transitionary. We wouldn't stop developing technology just because someone made an exoskeleton...

Re:Awesome, but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574964)

It's a great idea for the Pirate Party health platform, but how can we afford to pay for such things? It seems like we might need to sidestep a bit and take a path that gets away from profit-driven care.

Meh... (4, Funny)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573732)

Call me when you have a flying exoskeleton.

Re:Meh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573888)

close enough? http://www.ted.com/talks/yves_rossy_fly_with_the_jetman.html

Re:Meh... (4, Informative)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573972)

After taking the time to actually watch the video, I'm impressed (and not just by the cute chick). I'm also surprised that the current model still requires remote-control input from the therapist, though they say that will be sorted out in the next version. In the end, it's all about the user experience, and this girl seems to be pretty enthusiastic about it. Kudos!

Re:Meh... (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574100)

I'm also surprised that the current model still requires remote-control input from the therapist, though they say that will be sorted out in the next version.

Except the remote control aspect could be a serious problem: It's The Wrong Trousers [wikipedia.org] , Gromit, and they've gone wrong!

Re:Meh... (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574834)

I'd settle for dual fusion cannons and plasteel armor.

No bionic man yet (2)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573764)

Exoskeletons and robotic limbs are kind of like self-driving cars. Every few years, you see a news report on supposed progress made. Some prototype is demonstrated. And nothing ever comes of it.

So we're always hearing about some great new advancement for paraplegics or amputees and yet every time you walk into a hospital, they're still using the same basic wheelchairs, hooks, and simple artificial limbs they've been using for decades (with a few advancements like electric wheelchairs and improved gripping on the hooks).

Re:No bionic man yet (4, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573948)

Luxury vehicles have had optional fully automatic parallel parking for a couple years now.

Next year some production models of mid range vehicles have optional automated lane drift correction.

We also have cruise control systems that automatically brake when you approach slower traffic.

So if exoskeletons are like self driving cars, then expect them to rapidly progress over the next decade and see some comercial deployment, but don't expect anything as bad ass as Starship Troopers power armor.

Re:No bionic man yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574074)

but don't expect anything as bad ass as Starship Troopers power armor.

Can we at least get the micronukes?

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574142)

but don't expect anything as bad ass as Starship Troopers power armor.

Can we at least get the micronukes?

We already have the micronukes [wikipedia.org] . Proper exoskeletons are much more complicated.

Re:No bionic man yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574360)

Yes, but I want them on my wheel chair.

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573974)

oh, the new stuff is out there and in use by a number of people.. but because it's a medical device instead of a toy made by hasboro it's 20k instead of 300 dollars. which one do you think is covered by .

if you add the word medical to your product you increase it's cost by 1000%(don't worry, you've got insurance right?), tactical only gets you about 175% anymore(because the government seems more worried about "cyber").. and cyber seems to have moved into the negatives in the private space, though that gubbment check can make up for it.. i think they actually called the naked body scanners cyber medical scanners for tactical purposes.. so we're gettin raped on taxes as WELL as in the airports!

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

chronoglass (1353185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574000)

woops "insert big bad insurance company here" got taken out after "which one do you think is covered by"

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574198)

That's not true, if you add medical to the product it has to go through much more strenuous testing for FDA approval. It has absolutely nothing to do with insurance companies and everything to do with the fact that medical devices are expected to do no harm under even fewer circumstances than normal devices and have to have a therapeutic or medical use as well.

That costs money and quite frankly you do get a more reliable and better built piece of hardware in virtually all cases.

Re:No bionic man yet (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574132)

Exoskeletons and robotic limbs are kind of like self-driving cars. Every few years, you see a news report on supposed progress made. Some prototype is demonstrated. And nothing ever comes of it.

So we're always hearing about some great new advancement for paraplegics or amputees and yet every time you walk into a hospital, they're still using the same basic wheelchairs, hooks, and simple artificial limbs they've been using for decades (with a few advancements like electric wheelchairs and improved gripping on the hooks).

"They can fix a spine. But not on vet benefits, not in this economy."

Re:No bionic man yet (5, Funny)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574136)

Oblig XKCD

http://xkcd.com/678/ [xkcd.com]

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574346)

Exoskeletons and robotic limbs are kind of like self-driving cars. Every few years, you see a news report on supposed progress made. Some prototype is demonstrated.

20 something years VW was demoning a self parking car prototype, then nothing every came of that... till a little while ago when automatic parking starting becoming a feature seen in regular everyday cars. Also ePaper, years and years of prototype and tech demo and nothing usable of even buyable, then Kindle happened. New technology simply takes a while to get from first prototype to mass market and when you sit at the sidelines reading news reports about it all the time, it might seem like there isn't any progress, yet it still happens.

Now exoskeletons might not have quite the mass market appeal as a Kindle, but there is still plenty of demand (i.e. elderly people) that I have little double that 10 or 20 years down the road those things won't be something you only see on some tech demo video, but something that walks by you on the street.

Re:No bionic man yet (1)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38575032)

Hmm, 20 years- length of a patent. I wonder if there is a correlation.

I'm confused (3, Funny)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573766)

What's a post office?

Re:I'm confused (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573854)

That is were you pickup your online orders when you choose the cheap shipping option and miss the delivery. ;)

Re:I'm confused (4, Funny)

virgnarus (1949790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573910)

Hobby shop for stamp collectors.

Re:I'm confused (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574544)

It's a place similar to the Monty Python sketch where people go for abuse or an argument. "Don't give me that, you snotty-faced heap of parrot droppings!"

Re:I'm confused (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574906)

It's one of those antiquated things from the time when people had this archaic idea that not quite everything needed to be monetized directly; that there were certain things that a nation should provide as services that would not show a direct and immediate profit from, but which would ensure long term freedom and prosperity.

However, the role of the post office changed from that of conveyor of communication between individuals into an entity that was expected to make money serving corporate interests by delivering pound upon pound of junk mail on a daily basis. Though it struggled valiantly to serve the tier one citizens of the nation (the corporations who generated all this junk mail), it failed, and thus, it will soon not be possible to send a letter or Christmas card.

(See also, "Going Postal", by Terry Pratchett)

Would have gotten first post.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573772)

But my experimental exoskeleton segfaulted... :-(

Ob (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573776)

I have a class two rating.

Re:Ob (1)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574106)

Be my guest...

I, for one, (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573792)

Welcome our new exo-skeleton outfitted Stephen Hawking overlord.

Less insulting jokes too. (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573794)

I wouldn't want to tangle with someone with a powered suit of armor.

Would you?

Re:Less insulting jokes too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573980)

Depends........ Is there a big red "Power" button on the back that I can push to turn it off?

previous stories (5, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573808)

Fwiw, previous coverage on Slashdot of related products:

Human Exoskeletons Getting Closer [slashdot.org] (March 2009)

Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne [slashdot.org] (October 2009)

eLEGS Exoskeleton Allows Paraplegics To Walk [slashdot.org] (October 2010)

2012 - year of the exoskeleton (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574008)

Ah, so THIS will be the year of the exoskeleton then!

Re:previous stories (0)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574640)

this exoskeleton appears to feature a passenger with great, um, assets?

Nice but (1)

MitchDev (2526834) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573848)

Who but the ridiculously wealthy will be able to afford them?

Re:Nice but (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38573924)

Who but the ridiculously wealthy will be able to afford them?

Same thing could be said about wheelchairs for a good 1/3 of the world's population.

Re:Nice but (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574002)

Yet another reason why medical costs are shooting through the roof. Add to that, manual wheelchairs are carbon neutral. Electric wheel chairs can be decently effecient (the manufactures try their best for efficiency only to improve battery life, but that's a rare example of capitalism working). This, however, is likely to be an energy hog, and contribute to the death of the planet.

Re:Nice but (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574176)

Yet another reason why medical costs are shooting through the roof. Add to that, manual wheelchairs are carbon neutral. Electric wheel chairs can be decently effecient (the manufactures try their best for efficiency only to improve battery life, but that's a rare example of capitalism working). This, however, is likely to be an energy hog, and contribute to the death of the planet.

Of all the things to be worried about, the power used by exoskelatons / wheelchairs / HULC suits and other aliens are really at the bottom of the list.

Is your ability to look at orders-of-magnitude problems that impaired?

Re:Nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574616)

Is your ability to look at orders-of-magnitude problems that impaired?
 
Of course it is. The poster railing on about "a rare example of capitalism working" is a classic sign on being a total douche.

Re:Nice but (1)

gblackwo (1087063) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574412)

Are wheelchairs in fact carbon neutral? Even disregarding carbon during manufacturing/delivery to the point where it is at your door, can you say positively that a user does not burn more calories using a wheelchair versus other alternatives of getting around? Can you say that calories not burned by someone wearing an efficient exoskeleton will never outweigh the energy savings of a wheelchair or alternatives? Engineers have to work around many many parameters when designing solutions, and despite how much everyone nowadays wants to be green and talk about carbon, energy usage is not always a top priority especially in the medical industry.

Re:Nice but (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574728)

And this is why people don't take the enviro-nuts seriously. If you seriously believed in being carbon neutral you would give up all your fancy planet killing technology and go join some group like the Amish. There is a thing called quality of life and some of us believe that it is important.

Re:Nice but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574040)

Sorry Mitch but this is the way it works...
 
Early adopters pay out big money
If there is a demand the big money pays for R&D to make the technology accessible at a lower price point
A large customer base continues to pay for R&D
the cycle continues...

Re:Nice but (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574604)

That is why there is Insurance.

Insurance is a form of Socialized health care were everyone who in the plan pays for everyone else's healthcare.

That is why Obama Care wants everyone to have insurance. No so much as the sick but because the healthy low cost people are paying to help cover the costs of the sick people. Right now the healthy are opting out of health care so the high costs of health care is split across the sick.

That said. If everyone has health care there could be an increase in demand for health care, which would push the prices higher.

I guess we will see what happens.
 

As per Ripley. (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573850)


Get away from her, you bitch!

As a transhumanist... (1)

DC2088 (2343764) | more than 2 years ago | (#38573908)

... today is a good day. Let's keep along this road to the inevitable endoskeletal/replacement limb assistance for paraplegics. This is an excellent step - no pun intended.

Re:As a transhumanist... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574066)

The Shaper Coalition thinks you are, in fact, a Mechanist pretending to be a Transhumanist. Thank you for stepping forward.

All Hail Stephen Hawking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574048)

I for one am pleased to meet our new robotic exoskeleton overlords.

Need to industrialize it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574084)

then send them to fight queen aliens.

Anyone remember M.A.N.T.I.S.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574088)

I fear for humanity... (2)

nman64 (912054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574098)

...when I see a company developing robotic exoskeletons for humans run by a CEO named Bender. This development could cover both "embrace" and "extend". I think we all know what comes next.

William Gibson dixit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574200)

Am I the only one remembering http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Winter_Market ?

Could they have picked a goofier pose? (0)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574256)

The woman in the video is clearly normal minus the use of her limbs, in fact it says

"User Tamara Mena, who was paralyzed in 2005, gleefully puts her exoskeleton walking suit through its paces."

So why did they choose the pose that makes her look "1 drool spot and a birthday hat" away from full blown retarded?

Why not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574258)

Instead of exoskeleton, why not Zoidberg?

I love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574296)

Her boobs look great in that suit!

What happened to ... (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574434)

... Dean Kamen's iBot [wikipedia.org] wheelchair? Not quite as cool as an exoskeleton. But much more maneuverable than a standard wheelchair. And it leave your hands free.

Sadly, it appears to have been discontinued. But it was far cheaper than $100K, so if J&J couldn't make a go of the cheaper technology, what are the chances of this contraption ever seeing a market?

sounds sensible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574468)

because wheelchairs are just so cheap, lets offer them something more expensive

How about an exoskeleton? (1)

james_van (2241758) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574542)

That'd be great except for a few minor details: Wheelchairs are easier to maintain (fewer moving parts, much larger network of parts and support providers), wheelchairs are easier to transport (they fold up nicely and fit easily in the backseat of a car), they are easy to use (no instruction required, it's very self explanatory), they don't require power (granted, some do, but the average wheelchair is "self powered"), and - here's the kicker - much much much cheaper (yes, i know that theyre very expensive, especially for the high end ones, but compared to the cost of an exoskeleton, they are much cheaper). Personally, I'm all for exoskeletons and I personally know people in wheelchairs who I would love to see up and walking, but the challenges of making this into a reality are massive. That being said, once those challenges are overcome, I will jump in line to purchase one and upgrade/weaponize/harden/repaint/awsome-ize it and proceed to be a nuisance to my neighborhood.

Re:How about an exoskeleton? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38574926)

From the article/video, they're using this generation as a rehab tool, letting the user "walk" for an hour or so with a therapist walking behind them controlling the steps. It's not a wheelchair replacement, at least not yet. If someone works out with this regularly, then when the next generation comes along they may be able to use it by themselves.

Sounds like a great idea... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38574776)

if you're a RETARD.

Cripples don't deserve things like this. They should be tossed out into the streets and left to die like the filth that they are. If they can't contribute to society, they deserve death.

Re:Sounds like a great idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575040)

It's funny because Reagan, figurehead of the ideology you parody, became the very drooling retard his regime would toss into the streets to be left to die.

As a non-American, I am in two minds about the guy. On the one hand, his work laid the path to the destruction of America over the following two decades. On the other, like Thatcher, his obsession with selling off the family silver to the most abusive bidder has led to the rise of China.

Model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38575042)

I love how the person selected for the demonstration is a blonde with huge tits. I'm sure out of all possible users, she was selected at random.
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