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The 'amazing' robotic wheelchair that lets paraplegics stand tall
Scientists unveil a device that helps paralyzed riders navigate small spaces and reach the top of supermarket shelves
 
Yusaf Akturkoglu, whose lower body is paralyzed, uses the Tek RMD robotic wheelchair to stand up.
Yusaf Akturkoglu, whose lower body is paralyzed, uses the Tek RMD robotic wheelchair to stand up.
YouTube

The video: At first glance, the Tek Robotic Mobilization Device (RMD) looks like a Segway scooter. But it's actually a groundbreaking new alternative to the wheelchair that allows users to sit, crouch, and stand at eye-level with their peers, thanks to a sophisticated robotic suspension system. Developed by Turkish scientists, the RMD allows the wheelchair-bound to move easily between standing and sitting positions, and nimbly perform a variety of tasks. (Watch the demo below.) "We've developed a device that enables paralyzed people to move through narrow passages, sit on a chair like you and I do, use washrooms that we use, wash their hands, and do their own shopping," says Necati Hacikadiroglu, lead scientist of the Tek RMD team. The machine goes on sale in Turkey this week, and the creators are looking for distributors in the U.S. and Europe.

The reaction: This is a game changer, says Edwin Kee at Ubergizmo, because it allows paralyzed people with a "penchant for adventure" to do many of the daily tasks "able-bodied folks take for granted." And let's not forget the "psychological importance of eye-to-eye interpersonal contact," says Kristen Philipkoski at Gizmodo. The freedom the Tek RMD system grants users is nothing short of "amazing" — "it's going to change lives." Take a look:

 

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