Science,  Technology

This Medical Breakthrough Will Change Debilitating Injuries

Meet the world’s first recipient of a mechanical hand.

Imagine a world where someone who loses a hand or a foot is able to carry on exactly the way that they used to. We already saw some of this amazing work on display at the Olympics, where we’ve seen runners with missing limbs, but a new breakthrough is promising to unlock the potential of robotics in medical science.

Staff Sergeant James Sides was on his second tour in Afghanistan when he uncovered an improvised explosive device buried in the road. He attempted to utilize his training in ordinance diffusing, but the bomb went off close to his body. The blast threw him from his position, and completely severed his right hand from his wrist.

Upon recovery, Sides found that his body felt fine but everyday life was difficult. He was wrestling with things like getting a drink of water, or getting dressed. The Alfred Mann Foundation stepped into help. Their role, in addition to furthering the research behind robotics and medicine, is to help develop practical robotics that can be utilized all over the world. They utilized Rogers & Cowan, led by Executive Vice President Steve Doctrow, to help bring attention to Sides and his fight for normalcy.

Sides was the first of seven people who received this equipment, which is part of a test to see how these devices work long term. The hope is that soon we’ll see more artificial limbs on the market, and we’ll see improvements to existing technology. For now, Sides has three ranges of motion but he may soon have more. This technology will also become more affordable as time goes on, which means it may soon be part of one’s insurance policy coverage.

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