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Thread: Will robotics really satisfy us?

  1. #1

    Question Will robotics really satisfy us?

    What's everyone's opinion on walking suits, robo arms that you can move via thought...and the like? Would this be a cure you'd be 100% ok with?

    I was blogging about Tim Hemmes the other day (a C1 quad who moved a robotic hand for the first time and touched his gf's hand)...and began ruminating on whether this "cure" is just as good as a full non-robo one (especially if they can figure out how to make us "feel" as well as move).

    What say you? Are you in one camp or the other?

    Check out my blog, as well as a super cool heart-warming video of his girlfriend's reaction to him reaching out and touching her hand for the first time. Aw happy tears! http://www.spinalpedia.com/blog/2012...lfriends-hand/
    May the fetus you save be gay

  2. #2
    Senior Member lunasicc42's Avatar
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    In my opinion, robotics will not satisfy the sci community.

    As in robotics will be the end, and if that comes, we won't still really want a biological cure..... Not Gonna happen
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  3. #3
    Sweet vid.

    I think walking suits are great for getting people on their feet and maintaining their range of motion in preparation for a "cure". In general, all this technology is great because it enables people to do more but it's not equal to a cure.

  4. #4
    As a lower level injury, I'd much rather have a wheelchair than some mech warrior setup. In fact I think it does more harm than good because it helps people dismiss the problem of SCI as "being taken care of" when in fact it falls woefully short.

    I think the real applicability of this stuff is the brain-computer interface robotic hands that they are developing. It must be a godsend to an upper level quad.

    But still, it falls woefully short.
    L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.

  5. #5
    Robotics are not a cure but as a maintenance mechanism for body parts that would otherwise get no use I see a role for them. They may not be as efficient a means of transport as a wheelchair in almost all everyday situations but as a means of transport a standing frame is useless and I use a standing frame for other reasons. If that standing frame allowed me to move around whilst standing that would make it a lot more enjoyable and my guess is that it would be doing me more good as well.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by lunasicc42 View Post
    In my opinion, robotics will not satisfy the sci community.

    As in robotics will be the end, and if that comes, we won't still really want a biological cure..... Not Gonna happen

    We have to be realistic its better to walk arround in a suit than not walk at all or stay put in a chair.
    The elusive biological cure will probably not come in my lifetime anyway it's the now i'm concerned about. the robotic suit is a reality not a hope, i'm sure it can be further improved and finally to Quote the revered doctor if i can do the same things as do the the general community or if they can;t notice i'm SCI that is the closest thing to a cure and finally again, yes we can in my lifetime.

  7. #7
    I'm firmly in the biological cure camp because I genuinely believe it is possible.

    The exoskeletons are at least 10 versions away from being in a 'beta' mode for safe home use. Without sensation and proprioception the novelty of walking about passively in a suit will wear thin. I think by the time we have an affordable exoskeleton that is actually safe for everyday practical use (ie being able to carry your pint back from the bar) without looking like a circus attraction we'll have biological therapies that are restoring functional return.

    However, in order to achieve this the best (and most practical) regenerative science needs to be supported.

    PS I have had first hand access to both of the leading exoskeletons so I'm not just making assumptions.

    These companies have venture capitalists to answer to - so they are under pressure to provide a return on investment sooner rather than later to the moneymen.

    I have already seen a number of charities in the UK raising funds to buy one of these prototypes which raises the same ethical questions that we highlight here on CC when SCIs raise charitable funds to fly out to Timbuktoo to get administrations of unproven therapies.

    The worst possible scenario is thousands of individuals taking out large loans (10s of thousands of dollars) to buy an exoskeleton that after a month it is sitting in the garage gathering dust due to it not being pragmatic enough. That would be a shame.

    @peterf, I see what you're doing there with your 'it's probably not coming in my lifetime' comment
    Last edited by Fly_Pelican_Fly; 06-08-2012 at 03:25 PM.

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