April 14th, 2009
Sometimes I just dont know what to make of the web, scrolling through google news I came upon a story of wearable robotics to support disabled users. http://www.cyberdyne.jp/english/robotsuithal/index.html
(I have explained before that I have no life remember)
Now the problem is the company that this story about is called Cyberdene. And cyberdene systems is the name of the comapny that creates skynet and more impartantly the terminator in the Arnie movies (I checked on wikipedia … no life etc etc)
And I cant tell, is this real or a huge hoax - there are 52 stories listed on google as being about this, so that should suggest truth - but its called cyberdene - anyway the important thing is that I can edit this post to say that im not fooled if Ive been suckered
Anyway the technology is fascinating, hybrid limbs that add strength and dexterity to users. The questions that emerge is how does such a scale of intervention fit into either a social or medical model of disability. This is quite different to the assistive technology approach of modifying the environment to make it more accessible. But is also on a different scale to buying a pair of glasses. Perhaps the closest model is of course powered mobility - with expensive chairs facilitating independent transport.
I suppose I have this fear with such technology, and its based on working with kids with CP over a nunber of years. I used to have this thing about Dalek Syndrome, where kids were so surrrounded by technology that whilst being enabled to be independent, new barriers to human interaction were created. I surround myself with technology but how far would you go to have independence, at what point does the personal cost outweigh the benefits ?
Im fascinated to know