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iBot Self-Balancing Mobility Device FDA Approved

simoniker posted more than 11 years ago | from the gadgets-that-make-lives-better dept.

Hardware 274

ptorrone writes "In November of 2002, I was able to see the self-balancing iBot mobility device, which can go up and down stairs and travel/balance on two wheels, in person. It literally brought tears to my eyes seeing what it will mean for millions of disabled people around the world. Today, the FDA has approved its use, after years of approval processes and testing." We've mentioned this Dean Kamen-created product previously, but it's good to see it officially approved and available for those who need it.

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5th post.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693460)

bork bork bork

Re:5th post.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693473)

Superb! In an attempt to nail an 5th post I nailed an fp! We'll be singin in the streets tonight!

Russian Igla and government hype (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693539)

It's really weird to read something like this in Jane's (those in the business know what I mean).

When the history of this week's 'breaking story' about the alleged smuggling of a Russian Igla surface-to-air missile into the USA is finally written, the subtitle should run as follows: 'State set-up; no relevance to terrorist threat'. JID sheds some light on a much hyped tale of stupidity, greed and political spin.

Despite the plethora of over-excited media headlines earlier this week, the classic 'sting' operation, which was organised by the Russian secret service (FSB) and the USA's FBI to entrap an alleged arms dealer allegedly seeking to sell an Igla missile to what he apparently believed was a group of Islamic terrorists in the USA, revealed little beyond the intelligence services' insatiable desire for positive publicity. Put bluntly, there was no realistic prospect of this sort of advanced weapon being supplied to anyone without the active collusion of the Russian state authorities.

Above all, most reports missed the main points. The real threat to the USA and its allies - and there is a genuine risk - comes less from hi-tech weaponry of the Igla variety than from the committed militant willing to commit suicide, which was demonstrated by Al-Qaeda on 11 September 2001. Moreover, Russia became involved in this 'sting' because its military has a well-deserved reputation for selling anything to anyone.

Ahem... and in some more important news: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693462)

An Iraqi IT company today filed a lawsuit accusing Microsoft of bribing a high-ranking government official to gain lucrative redevelopment business in post-war Iraq.

In a lawsuit filed in the New York District Court on Friday, the Iraqi National Group for Computing alleges that Microsoft lavished a member of the newly formed Iraqi Council with brides worth an estimated $5 million between June and July 2003.

Mustafa Al-Hussein, a former minister of Iraq's Ministry of Telephone and Telegraph, received cash payments, medical expenses, hotel accommodation and free use of private jets in return for pushing the government-controlled Iraqi Telecom Company to select equipment and services supplied by Microsoft, the suit alleges. As minister, Al-Hussein is currenrtly chairman of the Iraqi Telecom Company.

National Group further alleges that it suffered damages of $233 million when the minister intervened to allow Microsoft to back out of a contract with the Iraqi firm.

National Group is seeking triple damages against Microsoft under US racketeering laws.
Microsoft has denied the charges against it, describing National Group's lawsuit as meritless. It has pledged to defend itself against the charges.

Re:Ahem... and in some more important news: (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693491)

with brides worth an estimated $5 million

Damn, those are some expensive women. Apparently Microsoft is "diversifying" their business quite a bit.

TI-89 Issues (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693463)

I don't want to start a holy war here, but what is the deal with you TI fanatics? I've been sitting here at my freelance gig in front of my calculator (a TI-89) for about 20 minutes now while it attempts to invert a 7 by 7 matrix. 20 minutes. At home, on my HP48 running at 4 Mhz, which by all standards should be a lot slower than this TI, the same operation would take about 2 minutes. If that.

In addition, during this matrix inversion, The calculator will not work. It has ground to a halt. Even BBEdit Lite is straining to keep up as I type this.

I won't bore you with the laundry list of other problems that I've encountered while working on various TI calculators, but suffice it to say there have been many, not the least of which is I've never seen a TI that has run faster than its HP counterpart, despite the TI's faster chip architecture. My Casio FX-100 runs faster than this 10 Mhz machine at times. From a productivity standpoint, I don't get how people can claim that the TI is a superior machine.

TI addicts, flame me if you'd like, but I'd rather hear some intelligent reasons why anyone would choose to use TI calculators over other faster, cheaper, more stable systems.

Get a 92 fagzor (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693505)

qwerty is the own.

First PRO-semitic post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693464)

Hi there.. Jews invented modern 4-wheel disc brakes as well as the modern fuel injection system. Jews are primarily responsible for the invention of the ballpoint pen. LASIK surgery was also pioneered by Jews. A Jew was kind enough to bequeath humanity with a hepatitis B vaccine, and another Jew gave us oral contraceptives. Holograms were invented by a Jew, and holograms are pretty darn cool. The shopping cart was invented by a Jew, including the collapsible back that allows them to conserve storage space.

When cancer is cured, it will probably be by Jewish doctors. When fusion is mastered as an energy source, it will probably be by Jewish physicists. As nanotechnology frees us from the burdens of scarcity, we will notice that a hugely disproportionate number of the innovators in the field are Jews.

Jon Abrams, if YOU are a Jew, you are NOT living up to your calling. Please reconsider your stance on fakesters immediately, or else you will become an "honorary" member of the inferior races.

Ahem. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693500)

Jews also bequeathed us Christianity. I'd say the credit/debit balance is about equal now.

Don't forget Natalie Portman (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693515)

teh hotness. []

FFDAAP! (First fda approved post!) (5core: -1) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693469)

FDA + Wheelchair (3, Interesting)

SKPhoton (683703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693475)

Since when does the Food and Drug Administration have to approve advanced wheelchairs? Maybe if it was a big vitamin wheelchair.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693487)

Administrative convenience, probably. It means that hospitals only need to deal with one organisation to determine whether the things they use are safe.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (2, Insightful)

SKPhoton (683703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693497)

Not necessarily. You still have medicare, medicaid, HMO's, etc, but those are for insurance. I'm sure there has to be some better group to test it such as the organization that tests vehicle safety.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693545)

Probably the FDA subcontract the testing to an agency that specialises in vehicle testing. As for insurance, it's a lot easier for them to say that they cover anything approved by the FDA, rather than any drugs approved by the FDA, mobility devices approved by the agency for those, prosthetics approved by the prosthetics people, pacemakers approved by another agency, and so on...

It's just a case a feature creep for the FDA. Someone needs to approve these things. They assign it to the agency that's already known to those who want approval.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693571)

Each person who wants to market Class I, II and some III devices intended for human use in the U.S. must submit a 510(k) notice to FDA at least 90 days before marketing unless the device is exempt from 510(k) requirements.

Wheel chairs are classified devices and not

If you think they should be exempt, then
you're insane. Surely you'd want some
testing and standards to apply to devices
being sold to the disabled. Or would you
rather have a purely market-driven lowest-
cost-wins approach to medical equipment,
particularly when there's a risk of greater

Look, this isn't a beach chair we're talking
about here. If it breaks, people (who are
already disabled) can get hurt.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693604)

The question isn't why aren't they expempt. The question is why is it a department of the FDA who deals with it? They are meant to be testing food and drugs, which presumably involves animal testing.

The original post was asking why doesn't a department of conumer safety, or perhaps a branch of the agency that regulated motor vehichles deal with this isntead.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693757)

And why is it the Department of Defense is always invading other people's countries? That's not what the name says they do.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693607)

Keep this mod'd low. It answers
a stupid question.

Also, keep the stupid question
mod'd up at +4 or +5.

"Since when does the Food and Drug Administration have to approve advanced wheelchairs?"

What a fscking dumb question. I mean,
just google for "FDA medical device regulation"
and you'll learn something.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1)

SKPhoton (683703) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693490)

The wheelchair rides around on 2 wheels like the segway as seen in this article [] . Since this is designed for disabled people, would it be able to keep its balance when a person with constant siezures was placed in it? Even when the wheelchair climbed stairs?

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693687)

would it be able to keep its balance when a person with constant siezures was placed in it?

Probably not.
From the article:
To climb up stairs, the occupant backs up to the first step and holds onto the stair railing. Then he shifts his weight over the rear wheels, causing the chair to begin rotation of the front wheels up over the rear wheels and then down onto the first step.

It also would not be appropriate for quadriplegics as the weight shift would be a problem.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (2, Interesting)

trikberg (621893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693496)

It was a long time since I read about it, but it was something about it being a lot cheaper to buy once it was classified as an aid for disabled people. I don't remember the reason, could have been either related to insurance or to tax deductability I guess.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (4, Informative)

trikberg (621893) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693514)

As always Google found what I was looking for here [] .

Johnson & Johnson wants to market the IBot as a physician-prescribed device, instead of a consumer device, so that it can be covered under many medical insurance plans, according to development information provided by the company.

This was the real purpose of the Segway (4, Insightful)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693733)

IBot will be a huge seller. The government will bear much of the cost as doctors will prescribe them and they will be covered by Medicaid. The approval process has been long and slow. The Segway served to generate public interest in the technology and get people used to it. If it weren't for awareness of the Segway and how safe it is touted to be it would have been harder to get approval of the IBot. You think the Segway is expensive, wait until you see the sticker price on these things.

This is a the real revolutionary device and it will make lots of money. I still have my doubts about whether the Segway itself will be a sucess in the next few years. That doesn't matter though, it paved the way for IBot in the court of public opinion. Imagine the reaction of people to IBot if they had never seen the Segway, "You're going to give a wheelchair-bound person what?!?" Now, with the public acclimated to the balancing technology, the reaction will be one of amazement instead of concern.

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693516)

Why, golly! You're onto something.
It must be that the inventor spent
millions of dollars NEEDLESSLY to
get FDA approval.

Oh, had he only thought to ask the
wise readership of slashdot.

Just think. He spent millions in
testing and waited years to get approval.
And it turns out that according to
slashdot readers he didn't have to!

What a fool he has been. Thanks

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693619)

Well done on totally missing the point.

A wheelchair is not food.

A wheelchair is not a drug.

Why does it fall under the FDA's remit to test it then, rather than the federal Wheelchair agency or whatever?

Re:FDA + Wheelchair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693743)

Do you have some ideological problems with FDA or what?

And here I am (5, Funny)

some damn guy (564195) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693477)

using my legs like a sucker.

Re:And here I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693544)

"And here I am using my legs like a sucker."

Yes, well you are a giant octopus.

aPPLE OMO HELPDESK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693580)

aPPLE OMO HELPDESK has been opened! OMO EXUALS are welcome no matter where they come from!


Re:And here I am (0)

Night0wl (251522) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693587)

And as someone who has been sitting in a wheelchair for 13 years of his life...

I'll be sitting here flipping you off, like an asshole.

Re:And here I am (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693655)

Quit being bitter and laugh, it's a joke!

Re:And here I am (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693674)

It's not his fault you're crippled

Get over it, retard

Re:And here I am (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693708)

You're just full of the milk of human kindness, aren't you? ...My mistake. It's shit you're full of.

Re:And here I am (1)

muirhead (698086) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693611)

You be a bigger sucker if you'd bought a Segway.

Re:And here I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693682)

Dude, seriously.

Just get a real sucker.

They taste better and you won't be risking a dislocated pelvis.

FDA? (4, Interesting)

jasoncart (573937) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693480)

Excuse my ignorance, but why is electronic device this being approved by the "Food & Drugs Administration"?

Re:FDA? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693536)

They are marketing it as a medical device which requires a doctor's order so that insurance will help people buy them. Therefore it is considered a medical device and needs fda approval. THey could have marketed it directly to consumers and avoid the FDA hassel but then insurance could not help pay for them.

Re:FDA? (4, Interesting)

ratfynk (456467) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693566)

Good question, if you build wheel chairs they need approval. Any device that the medical insurance industry might need to pay for has to be approved. It does not matter if it is a tech creation. The FDA is there to look after the well being of industry. "The business of Government is business" You will not be able to sue if you have an accident using this device, unless you can prove neglagence on the part of the maker. Same thing goes for the cost of practice insurance for doctors, it costs a fortune because Americans love litigation so much nowadays. There are hords Lawyers who do nothing but take cases against medical companies and doctors on spec because it has become so lucurative. I just hope this bullshit continues to stay south of the Canadian border where it belongs.

Um (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693482)

Disabled people should be castrated

Is the FDA approval too much of a hazzle? (4, Insightful)

NKJensen (51126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693483)

Sometimes I wonder if the FDA approval is too difficult to obtain. It's always a balance between getting the products onto the market and keeping them safe. It's said to cost near one billion US$ to get a new drug on the market - not many companies can afford someting even remotely as expensive for a mechanical aid.

Re:Is the FDA approval too much of a hazzle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693492)

Well the chair retails for $300,000 ;)

Re:Is the FDA approval too much of a hazzle? (1)

NKJensen (51126) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693501)

I guess you mean that the approval IS to much of a hazzle since it pushes prices that high?

Re:Is the FDA approval too much of a hazzle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693523)

" Well the chair retails for $300,000"

Did you just make that up? The figure I saw wa $29,000.

Re:Is the FDA approval too much of a hazzle? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693510)

Why does a piece of tech require `food and/or drug` administration approval? Just develop it outside the US then. Sell it for entertainment use only, or make it a kit you have to make yourself (even if that just involves assembling some macro components).

nice (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693485)

really nice. good to see they've got this approved. now if they could get the thing to look a bit better. maybe some gofaster stripes or alloy wheels on it would do ;]

Re:nice (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693689)

Just wait.

Some handicapped ricer will have his plastered with a performance-enhancing "Type R" sticker, underglow, and a fart pipe 10 seconds after these hit the stores.

iBot is the first step. (3, Funny)

Cappy Red (576737) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693502)

This is but the first step on the way to making giant robot anime a reality.

I wonder if I can mod this thing into a gundam... or better yet a megadeus.


Compare this to the Segway (4, Interesting)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693519)

It's interresting to note that this wheelchair also has served as the technology-cradle (if you will) for the Segway. Yet, the Segway has been around for quite some time already, and the wheelchair only just got approved by the FDA.

The whole approval thing makes it possible to get part of the (very costly) wheelchair price covered by medical insurances and the like, as I've understood things correctly anyway.

Re:Compare this to the Segway (2, Insightful)

Frambooz (555784) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693603)

"The whole approval thing makes it possible to get part of the (very costly) wheelchair price covered by medical insurances and the like, as I've understood things correctly anyway."

Yes, and what about safety? The Segway doesn't have to be Bush- *cough* fool-proof, the wheelchair has to be.

Any fast, unexpected motion (losing balance, falling, a quick jerk forward or backward) can have far-reaching consequences for the person using the device (think about neck and back strain).

Corrected Statement (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693521)

...but it's good to see it officially approved and available for those who need it.

Read: those who can afford it.

Re:Corrected Statement (1)

jez_f (605776) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693764)

Read: those who can afford it.
read other peoples posts concerning FDA approval and health insurance.

Any videos? (1)

Khad (692041) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693537)

Ok that's cool. But aren't there any videos for us to see what it really can do?

Re:Any videos? (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693739)

NBC's Dateline Videos"

Come on and join #fpn on OPN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693540)

[05:58] (dreamer): typical. I finally get back online and noone's here.
[05:58] (PovRayMan): I AM HERE
[05:58] (PovRayMan): LETS PLAY
[05:58] (PovRayMan): :)
[05:58] * dreamer sits on PovRayMan's face

The comedy gold just lives here!

FDA approval (2, Informative)

panurge (573432) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693543)

Drugs companies actually spend far more on marketing than they do on R&D, which includes approvals. How much of that marketing is really necessary - unless, of course, the drugs aren't really as effective as they claim?
This thing needs approval because in confined spaces it could to terrible damage to other people as well as the occupant. Stair climbing and standing up is all very well, but suppose it fell over with someone else under it? The approval costs must be a tiny fraction of the potential liability if it was shown an insufficiently tested thing like this was released on the market.

But then, many people with only minor disability - reduced leg movement for instance - could well get away with a Segway. Perhaps they will go on to develop a whole range of these devices for different levels of disability, using the work done on approving "everything" to make subsequent approval much easier for the less functional versions.

Re:FDA approval (3, Interesting)

lovebyte (81275) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693577)

Drugs companies actually spend far more on marketing than they do on R&D, which includes approvals. How much of that marketing is really necessary - unless, of course, the drugs aren't really as effective as they claim?

The thing people usually misunderstand about drug approval is that the results of the clinical tests are open to scrutiny. If the drugs are not effective, the FDA can (and does) not approve them.
Having said that, pharmaceutical companies spend way too much money on "lobbying" doctors. The usual budget rundown is: 1/3 R&D, 1/3 infrastructure, 1/3 Marketing and sales. Of the 1/3 R&D, 1/3 goes to research, which makes the pharmaceutical industry the industry that spends the most in research.

Re:FDA approval (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693740)

this applies to software development and implementation too. i do this for a living for a major drug company, and we're putting in a new data capture system for use in a clinical trials department. it's very, very time consuming and difficult to do this to the level of detail and accountability that the FDA requires - but this is a good thing. it *should* be difficult to get approval as you're dealing with things that have a direct impact on people - whether thru drug efficacy, or though a medical aid that could cause harm if misued.

Videos of it in use (5, Informative)

batemanm (534197) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693546)

Since I'd never seen this thing in use I dug up some videos of it in use. The first two are quite low quality, the final one is a good quality.

It still looks a little unstable on stairs but it does mean that a person in a wheelchair can go up and down stairs by themselves, which is definetly a good thing.

Re:Videos of it in use (3, Informative)

batemanm (534197) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693591)

Here [] is a news report which has even better info + an interview with the guy that made it.

Re:Videos of it in use (-1, Offtopic)

anubi (640541) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693630)

I was very pleased that those videos you posted were .mpgs ... I can't tell you how pissed I get when someone has some neat stuff but it requires me to install some proprietary crap viewer to see it.

Re:Videos of it in use (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693659)

I can't tell you how pissed I get when someone only posts for karma whoring.

NBC's Dateline Videos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693721)

Dateline Videos []

Re:Videos of it in use (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693785)

Going up stairs looks tedious and cumbersome, why can't the wheels just drive it up somehow?

Fun (0, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693549)

Remote Function
The remote function allows you to detach the joystick, and via cable wire connection, drive the empty iBOT(TM) Mobility System into the back of a vehicle for easy transporting.

I sense a few comedy moments exploiting THAT feature.

From a serious side, I saw a documentery a while ago about these, and the only thing about them that would make me nervous is the stair climbing and descent.

Cool (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693552)

What an enormously cool thing! It's like a Segway on steroids. I'd almost chop off a leg for one of these!

Important announcement for gnome zealots (5core:5) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693553)

Gnome 2.4, the desktop environment you have waited for, sucks more than 2.2 did. We advice you to install kde 3.1.4 from CVS until gnome 2.5 comes out. The following features will NOT be present, despite your constant whining
  • The new file dialog
  • The Galeon web browser. We chose January6 [] instead, because who wants tabbed browsing except you jerks. Look at mozilla, and you will see why we choose this lovley netscape 2 clone.
  • We will make file extration harder, because we don't want to waste space on the context menu. We have removed "Extract here" and you will now have to go though 5 menus to avoid going into the console and typing tar xjvzfcaq file.tar.gz.
  • We have made panel configuaration harder. Instead of an intuitve size dropdown with small large ect we have repaced it with a harder to use spinbox. This is beaucse the sizes upset stallman because we didn't have his trouser size in it so we replaced it. Have fun taking 20 clicks instead of 2. PS we removed the cute goat logo in the about box, now you have to look at the foot!
  • We will STILL not be including a media player, sure you can reboot into windows or play with mplayer from the command line. Why because our media libray [] sucks and we don't want to use a superior [] implemnetation.
We have included some features, but they only did it because you were willing to suck havoc penningtons cock!
  • We added fake cmyk support in the gimp. Sure it LOOKs like it, but when you try to prepress or print it will look like monkey shit
  • We added a better weather applet, but it won't work on rainy days
  • Wanda the fish actually looks like a fish now
  • We added a menu editor, but when you use it you have to reboot for the changes to take effect
  • We made the gnome-terminal compatible with emacs, but you will need a czech keyboard to be compatible with the obscure keybindings.
  • As usual, we took more options away from the prefrences dialog and hid them in gconf where they belong
Please send all complaints, complements and gay porn to

Hefty price tag (3, Informative)

Florian Weimer (88405) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693559)

According to this article [] , the iBot costs $29,000. Most people who would benefit from this technology cannot afford it, unfortunately.

Re:Hefty price tag (4, Interesting)

ArsonPanda (647069) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693608)

One of the major points of getting FDA approval on something like this is so that the feds (medicare/aid) will likely pick up a large portion, or in some cases, all of the cost.

Sounds like something Apple should market... (3, Funny)

Zemran (3101) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693561)

Well you can listen to music on your iPod while working on your iBook and sitting in your iBot whilst invading iRaq.

Re:Sounds like something Apple should market... (2, Funny)

LordSah (185088) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693654)

And get iRate over the overuse of 'i' in marketing. I find it annoying to the X-Treme [] .

Re:Sounds like something Apple should market... (2, Funny)

dcw3 (649211) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693703)

Well you can listen to music on your iPod while working on your iBook and sitting in your iBot whilst invading iRaq.

i'Ve gotta go iNto iSolation to get away from all these iDiots before i go iNsane.

Re:Sounds like something Apple should market... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693767)

Don't worry; most of it is only iCandy

Tears (-1, Flamebait)

gazbo (517111) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693569)

I'm sure that the world's disabled, whose main fight is acceptance as equals of their able bodied counterparts, will be thrilled to hear that you wept at the assistance will be able to offer them.

If anyone else wants to emotionally touch a disabled person in such a way, wait until someone goes into a public toilet in a wheelchair; offer to help then take their trousers down, and bask in the warm glow of helping your fellow humans.

Re:Tears (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693774)

So, you take off someone's trousers in a public toilet and then bask in a warm "glow". I don't know, but that paints a pretty disturbing picture to me *shudder*

FYI on FDA (4, Informative)

segment (695309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693574)

For those wondering why the FDA would have to approve the device, figured this would help. Also in Europe they have the Medical Device Directive [] , and the UK Medical Devices Agency []

Who is watching your food to make sure it is safe? Who should be? Well, for almost ninety years the Food and Drug Administration has been charged with the task of protecting and promoting the public health. Laws including the Nutrition Labeling Education Act, Pure Food and Drugs Act, and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act have shaped the way the FDA operates, outlining an agency which has jurisdiction over the approval of food additives (Delaney clause), biologics (prescription drugs), medical devices, and cosmetics produced by manufacturers for the United States market
Why do they place so much power in one agency is beyond comprehension. Can you imagine the type of abuse someone can put another company through. IE, say XFOO Corp. has some Cancer drug that works and the developers spent some couple million on it.

Now say employee John Foofxr decides he wants someone to pay him some serious moolah to have this drug approved. Either the company pays or it doesn't. Too much power for one gov agency, and bear in mind they have no oversight agency.

Congressional Institute's page on the FDA []

Re:FYI on FDA (4, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693718)

Corruption is almost unknown in the US Government. Yes, I work there. Why is it unknown?


There are just too many people watching in most instances, and corruption *will* get you a long trip to an ass-ramming federal pen. Besides, government workers are dweebs. Anyone with enough smarts to pull off a good extortion racket wouldn't take the job, the pay is too low.

And before you ask, i'm a contractor.

Cost... (1)

md81544 (619625) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693582)

Does anyone know how much one of these costs, approximately?

Re:Cost... (2, Informative)

batemanm (534197) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693612)

It is expected to be around $29,000 [] .

Millions? (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693586)

At the kind of price it'll be going for, I think the number is probably closer to a few thousand...

Tranny? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693588)

Does anyone else think the guy in the wheelchair on the iBot page (linked in the article above) is the same person as the women to the left on the iBot page? Their faces are strikingly it just a coincidence?

boxing? (1, Funny)

hangingonwords (581642) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693590)

Maybe if Rocky had one of these way back when he wouldn't have had to run up all those stairs.

More on FDA (3, Informative)

segment (695309) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693594)

(source for this doc [] )

Ethical Issues Involving Medical Devices
Rick Chen


In a society where new technology is constantly being invented, medical devices are evolving at a fast pace. The use of complex and sophisticated equipment to monitor patient and diagnose disease are more and more routine in hospitals and clinics. New discoveries in the material science field have led to the improvement in implant devices such as pacemakers, artificial grafts, and artificial organs. Armed with these technological advances, physicians and engineers are able to save more lives and improve the quality of living. However, these new technologies have raised new debates and discussions on morality and ethical issues. Approval and regulation of medical devices, as well as patient's rights and informed consents are just a few of the many issues stirred up by these new developments. This section discusses some of the issues and concerns dealing with medical ethics as well as regulation of medical devices. It also talks about some cases that involved medical device failure, and some of the government's attempts to reduce failure.

Issues and Concerns

As most people know, putting new medical technologies on the market requires repeated clinical tests follow by animal and human tests. Finally the device is approved by the government agency such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In order to fully test the effectiveness of these devices, animal and human testing is necessary at some point. Due to sheer increases in the volume of biomedical research, problems associated with human experimentation gain in importance. This need raises very complicated questions about balancing the patient's right against the overall benefits. On the one hand, human life is precious and needs to be considered a high priority. On the other hand, the new technology could potentially have large social benefits.

In order to ensure the risks of physical and emotional injuries are at a minimum, every clinical study is required to meet comprehensive guidelines and regulations before moving to human experimentations. In addition to the regulations, a patient's rights during a human trial study should be properly protected. The concept of "informed consent" has emerged as a way to control this issue. Under informed consent, patients need to be informed of every aspect of the study, as well as the potential risks involved. This topic is discussed in detail in the informed consent section.

Medical Device Regulation

The first step in medical device regulation is to clearly define all the related terms and categories. A medical device is defined as any equipment used to treat, diagnose, or prevent disease (Jefferys, 2001). It can range from very basic equipment such as needles and syringes to complex devices such as X-ray machines and MRI scanners. In the case of clinical studies where the device has not yet been approved, a series of steps needs to be taken. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for the regulation of these devices. For the new device to be used on human subjects, first an investigational device exemption (IDE), which allows an unapproved device to be used in a research study, needs to be approved by the FDA. After the approval, the devices are then divided into two categories: significant risk and insignificant risk. Devices that pose significant risks include implants and artificial organs. Devices such as glasses and teeth-braces are qualified as insignificant risk devices. Research study that involves devices with significant risk cannot process until the procedure is approved by an institutional review board (IRB) and the FDA, which is based on the informed consent forms (Enderle et al., 2000).

In the UK and Europe, the devices are divided up into three categories: low risk (category I) and high risk (category II and III). With a low risk device, the manufacturer is allowed to self-inspect the product. Government agencies, such as the Medical Device Agency (MDA), then inspect the manufacturer for requirements. The control of high-risk devices is done through Notified Assessment Bodies. This is an organization composed of agencies from different countries in Europe. The Bodies inspects the design of the device, as well as checks the experiment protocol involving the device. Once the device has been approved by one country, it can be used in all of the countries that are members of the Notified Assessment Bodies (Jefferys, 2001).

Although the regulations are very detailed and comprehensive, they still need to be constantly updated to keep up with the advancement of technology. In recent years, the continue reuse of disposable medical device has caused the FDA to refine its regulations on medical devices. In an effort to reduce costs, many hospitals and clinics in the US are reusing the medical devices after cleaning and sterilizing, despite their "single-use" designation. While the device's safety was backed by experts in the medical field, growing public concerns led to new regulations imposed by the FDA. In 2000, the FDA classified many reused medical devices into low, moderate, and high risk categories. It also requires that any facilities that use these devices must reprocess them using the same standard for new equipment (Anonymous, 2002a). With the evolution of medical technology, it is imperative that the regulations are up to date to minimize accidents.

Medical Device Failure

Despite all the precautionary steps in an effort to keep accidents from happening, medical device failure is inevitable. This is seen especially in clinical research where new technology is used without approval, and risk can be high and costly.

In the case of James Quinn, a 51-year-old veteran who got a fully implanted artificial heart, the device failure cost him his life. James Quinn was the fifth patient who agreed to test this break-through technology. Although he showed remarkable recovery after the surgery, James suffered strokes and other complications during the next nine months and was pronounced brain dead. His wife sued the Abiomed Inc., the maker of the heart, on the grounds of being misinformed about the risks. The lawsuit brought media coverage locally but was ultimately won by Abiomed Inc. because James Quinn had signed a 15-page informed consent. Abiomed Inc. later altered the design of the heart to reduce the chances of stroke.

For James Quinn and his wife, not treating the informed consent as an important step when trying an unproven medical device had a tragic consequence. Companies that develop these new devices are obligated to provide information on potential risks, and patients are also obligated to fully understand the study that they are involved in. Only with the efforts of both sides of the study can an ethical controversy be avoided (Goldberg, 2002).


There are many ethical issues to take into account regarding new medical devices. With such a high demand for these technologies, controversies dealing with human experimentation have to be addressed with a sense of urgency and seriousness. In 1990, the Congress passed the Safety Medical Device Act of 1990. This law requires hospitals and every other medical facility to report death or injuries that might be caused by a medical device to the FDA. This piece of legislature enables FDA to be quickly informed when a device causes or is suspected of causing deaths or injuries so that actions can be taken as soon as possible (Enderle et al., 2000). Moral and ethical issues will always accompany new medical advancements. If they can be adequately addressed, then the possibilities are endless.

Presidential Testing (5, Funny)

mothrathegreat (542532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693595)

Now all that remains is for George w Bush to fall off it and the federal government's work here is done

Re: Presidential Testing (2, Funny)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693686)

Oh c'mon, be serious. The President is a person of dignity and intelligence; they would have the common sense NOT to hop onto some weird device and make an ass of themselves.

*cough* s/technolog y/maney/2003-06-17-segway_x.htm


Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693596)


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Exercise (4, Insightful)

RupW (515653) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693599)

Could you redesign this with a manual push mechanism? Neat though this is, if I were disabled I'd prefer to push myself. Mostly for exercise - I'm young, why let the rest of me rot? But also in case of mechanical / battery failure, etc.

Does this gyro technology work at any speed or is it kept it on a smooth motor to avoid overstretching it? Could you make a push-scooter Segway?

Re:Exercise (4, Informative)

mikeophile (647318) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693719)

The gyro technology that is used in both the iBot and the Segway don't keep the device balanced directly.

They simply provide feedback to an onboard computer that controls the servo motors that power them.

About 100 times a second, the motors make corrections either backward or forward based upon the data the gyros provide.

So no, there is no way of making a Segway a push scooter since it can't balance at all without power.

From the pictures, the iBot looks like the motor might be able to be disengaged to allow it to be pushed in four wheel mode. I don't think it can be manually self-propelled however.

I for one welcome our new Dalek masters.... (2)

Channard (693317) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693605)

.. because if they ever get their hands on this technology, we're up poo creek without a paddle - no longer will stairs be an adequate Dalek defence.

morons approve already-made survival devices (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693625)

that's right. the big 'problem' (apparently) is the whole deal is free (as in oxygen/water), & requires less participation in the Godless corepiate nazi monIEsuck/death march.

morons continue to monitor unprecedented evile.. (Score:1, Interesting)
by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 13, @10:56AM (#6685759)
with the patentdead eyecon0meter. definitely requires yOUR attention, as we remain in crisis mode, whilst the evile wons seek new/exciting ways to keep the wool over yOUR eyes.

no blood oath/integrity test needed to pay the outrageous premiums to those fauxking thieves?

get off it robbIE.

the lights are coming up now.

you can pretend all you want. our advise is to be as far away from the walking dead contingent as possible, when the big flash occurs. you wouldn't want to get any of that evile on you.

as to the free unlimited energy plan, as the lights come up, more&more folks will stop being misled into sucking up more&more of the infant killing barrolls of crudeness, & learn that it's more than ok to use newclear power generated by natural (hydro, solar, etc...) methods. of course more information about not wasting anything/behaving less frivolously is bound to show up, here&there.

cyphering how many babies it costs for a barroll of crudeness, we've decided to cut back, a lot, on wasteful things like giving monIE to felons, to help them destroy the planet/population.

no matter. the #1 task is planet/population rescue. the lights are coming up. we're in crisis mode. you can help.

the unlimited power (such as has never been seen before) is freely available to all, with the possible exception of the aforementioned walking dead.

consult with/trust in yOUR creator. more breathing. vote with yOUR wallet. seek others of non-aggressive intentions/behaviours. that's the spirit, moving you.

pay no heed/monIE to the greed/fear based walking dead.

each harmed innocent carries with it a bad toll. it will be repaid by you/us. the Godless felons will not be available to make reparations.

pay attention. that's definitely affordable, plus you might develop skills which could prevent you from being misled any further by phonIE ?pr? ?firm? generated misinformation.

good work so far. there's still much to be done. see you there. tell 'em robbIE.

the rest of the wwworld is laughing/crying at/for US in sympathy/disgust, as we fall/jump into the daze of the georgewellian corepirate nazi life0cide, whilst criticizing their ip gangsters, which are also members of the walking dead.

OK up to a point (4, Insightful)

R.Caley (126968) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693651)

But it looks to me that if you had battery probems you would be fucked. Any of us who ever had a laptop battery unexpectedly die will know how the unierse punishes reliance on that kind of technology.

I presume the FDA testing would mean that a failure going up stairs wouldn't result in it crashing to the bottom.

The traditional big-wheeled wheelchair is (relatively) low tech, cheap and, for those who can use it, gives real independence of the `let me on with my own life damn it' variety.

Obviously there are classes of dissability for which a powered chair is neccesary, stick Stephen Hawking in one of these for instance. But I wonder if there is some way to bring some of this technology to a machine which wouldn't just be a oversized couch when deprived of power, and wouldn't reduce people who don't need to be to couch potatoes.

Same Chips as the Segway (FYI) (0)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693663)

In the UK we have something called the "Tommorows World" roadshow, kinda like a since exhibition on wheels!
They were showcasing this thing . Apparently it uses the same "Silicon" gyroscope technology as the Segway!

This device is truely amazing (5, Insightful)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693688)

The iBot is a truely amazing piece of equipment (and its self balancing device is borrowed by the Segway Scooter.)

On top of being able to go up stairs and balance on only 2 (one wheel raised on top of the other) (designed so that the disabled can effectively "stand" at eye level with a medium height adult) It also will fit through a standard size doorway. This means that if someone is to become disabled through an accident, that they do not need to retrofit their house (or move into a new one) to continue to be functional. The iBot allows a person to traverse stairs, travel on most all terrain (pneumatic tires), and due to its function to lift a person and self balance on only 2, a person can access higher kitchen cabinets, and shelves throughout their home.

This erases the massive price tag to retrofit a persons home, which is often paid for by workplace disability or the federal government. That is not to say that the iBot is not expensive ($20,000 at last count), but the cost of refitting a home can often be signifcantly more than that.

I've seen the device at FIRST competitions in the past (another Kamen brainchild), and it is revolutionary.

Videos from NBC's Dateline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693691)

Wasted of time, it will be out of reach ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6693696)

the people that need these wont be able to get them anyway on state healthcare, NHS is a joke, dont expect to get one of these anytime soon as they will be overpriced like all the other machines.. Think MRI, unless yer dying forget it.

Its priced out of reach of those that need it.

Perhaps this is off topic but (4, Interesting)

dodell (83471) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693744)

I saw this thing on Discovery once about Dean Kamen. He's a great guy. This class of like 3rd grade students all wrote him to see if he'd donate one to their science teacher who was disabled. So Dean came personally and brought one of these things to the guy and he was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo happy. He could even do dances and stuff with the thing; his wife was there too and they did like a waltz or something, and it actually worked.

This is a great invention by a great guy, and I genuinely hope it goes to people who really need and deserve it. Teachers may not be aware of the difference they make in a kids life; I hope these kids realize what a difference they've made to their teacher's life. It's amazing.

Just Curious.. (0)

dirtydiaper (697253) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693760)

Has anyone been on a segway or one of these.. I am curious as to what the feeling is like? Is it really weird to start? Or is it really comfortable of the get go?

USA only, why? (3, Informative)

jez_f (605776) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693775)

Just a bit curious, I live in the UK and know someone who may be able to make good use of one of these.
But the whole site has a little note saying it is for USA people only, and there dosn't seem to be an international site. It seems strange that they are not interested in the rest of the world.
Anyone know why this is?

Does the iBot incorporate a video camera... (1, Funny)

PiscoX (697783) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693778)

... so that grandpa falling down the stairs in his new mobility device can be sent to funniest home videos?

Tears? (3, Funny)

bigboard (463204) | more than 11 years ago | (#6693791)

It literally brought tears to my eyes

Perhaps you should try adjusting the seat properly.
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