All the hype on power-assisted limbs that I have recently seen has involved the creation of super soldiers of the future, a truly dystopian vision if there ever was one. This story of robotics for the disabled and elderly who need power assist to stay mobile is an excellent reminder that the billions which many see as ‘sand down a rat hole’ when spent on development or research for the military and/or space programs has often found terrific civilian uses for the results, PCs and the internet being two things that come to mind.

No matter how fun they make fancy little electric wheelchairs look on TV ads, the truth is they suck and are a last step on a downhill slope for those forced to use them.  A much better solution is power assistance that keeps them moving, ‘use it or lose it’ being an apt description of the physical situation and self-esteem being a huge factor in quality of life and health.

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