he video: In 2007, Austin Whitney got behind the wheel of a car after having a few drinks. The horrific car accident that followed left him paralyzed from the waist down. But on May 14, thanks to a breakthrough robotic exoskeleton, the University of California, Berkeley, senior was able to rise out of his wheelchair and walk across the stage to receive his diploma — to the delight of some 15,000 onlookers, who cheered with joy. (See the video below.) "'If somebody told me four years ago that I'd be walking at this graduation, I would have never believed them in a million years,' Whitney told ABC News. The exoskeleton, created by Berkeley professor Homayoon Kazerooni and his research team, is a series of metal braces and motorized joints strapped to Whitney's leg, all controlled by a small portable computer. Kazerooni says the exoskeleton could eventually be sold for the same price as a powerful wheelchair — and will be named "Austin."
The reaction: Plenty of technologies improve the lives of those with physical impediments, says Elizabeth Fish at PCWorld. But the Austin exoskeleton legs are "the most incredible yet, for their ability to let the wheelchair bound walk again." Talk about courage and dedication, says Linda Sharps at The Stir. "If anyone's worked hard for a second chance, it sure seems like Austin Whitney has." Watch Whitney accept his diploma:
- The logic behind the world's 4 weirdest strategic reserves
- Watch The Daily Show use Pope Francis to hammer Fox Business pundits
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- Remembering Nelson Mandela: The world's front pages
- What to expect when you're expecting (100 years ago)
- Is it possible to live forever?
- Are Democrats backing the GOP into another government shutdown?
- 6 photos that Facebook controversially banned
- No, Obama doesn't have to fire everybody in the White House
Subscribe to the Week