exoskeleton for wheelchair users

Living in the future has some amazing perks.

A French tech company is rolling out a new device that allows wheelchair-bound people to walk again. It looks like something straight out of a science fiction movie, but the phenomenal benefit it provides is very, very real.

The company, Wandercraft, calls it the Atalante X. It acts like an exoskeleton, fitting around both legs and the back of the spine. Twelve motors make up the robot appendages (six at the hips, two at the knees, and four at the ankles), which helps make more natural movement.

Each motor receives a signal every millisecond from both a user-controlled remote and a sensor that detects upper body movement. This cutting-edge technology allows, for the first time ever, the freedom of hands-free motion.

Wandercraft : Self-balanced exoskeleton latest advancements www.youtube.com

Alexandre Boulanger, one of Wandercraft’s creators, regarded exoskeletons as “the revolution of the future for people with reduced mobility. They help users to regain a social life through as simple an act as being able to stand up and talk with others face-to-face.”

So far, users seem to agree.


In an interview with Euro News, one of Wandercraft's test pilots, Kevin Piette, noted, “the first time you stand up is pretty impressive because you can do it very easily, very quietly, comfortably. And then you have this upright posture that you had actually forgotten about.”

One of Piette’s favorite rediscovered activities is cooking. “To be able to cook and reach things up high, things that are part of a really banal day of life was rewarding. It’s also really nice to be able to be at the same level as people instead of always looking up at them from below,” he told Euro News.

Wandercraft first launched in 2012, starting out with only three engineers. The company now has 50 mathematicians, robotics engineers and biomechanical experts. And so far $45 million has been raised to further develop a lighter, cheaper, more versatile model.

One of those co-founders, Jean-Louis Constanza, whose son is a wheelchair user, credits their success to having “a project that really changes society.”

According to the Wheelchair Foundation, an estimated 10 million people require wheelchairs. And that’s not taking developing countries into consideration, where less than 10% of those who need them actually have access to one. According to the website, that means that every hour of every day, there is need for 145 more wheelchairs in the world. There is certainly a demand for mobility devices.

Lots of breakthroughs have been made to make everyday life a bit more accessible for those who are disabled, like wheelchair-equipped smart cars. But the Atalante X is something truly innovative and one-of-a-kind. Its next steps (pun intended) are being able to be used outside. Wandercraft engineer Jean-Louis Kana noted that the device will have to adhere to the same regulations as an autonomous car, and be required to develop algorithms to ensure stability and reliability. Particularly if there’s an accident.

However, if the success of Wandercraft continues, the lives of millions will become truly limitless. It’s one small step for robotics, and one giant leap for inclusion.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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