In 2008, the United States Army began to develop a technology that would lead a single doctor to save over 100 soldiers a leg amputation. The Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis is in essence a support system for legs injured by battle, created by making a mold of the injured leg and creating a carbon-fiber cast. It’s not a prosthetic, and it’s not a brace, but it functions a little like both. The relatively low-tech solution works by supporting the weaker parts of the leg with energy gathered from regular steps.
The most important part of this technology is that it is completely functional. Inventor Ryan Blanck says that many of his patients have considered amputation as a solution. “They might be able to stand on it, but they can’t fully bear weight on it. They can’t push off from it.” Blanck’s invention helps soldiers regain the use of their legs, eventually strengthening muscles and joints. The device can reduce pain to almost nothing, and can be used for daily wear, as well as more strenuous exercises like hiking and running.
Even better, this device will soon be available to civilians, allowing for even more people to regain their mobility. According to Mashable, several dozen patients are already waiting for their own.
What Sparks Our Fire: Low-tech solutions to serious medical issues, allowing soldiers and civilians to maintain their independence.
Do you know anyone who would benefit from this invention?