If you are not already aware, I am paralyzed and have used a wheelchair for the past six years. Spending 18 years of my life with the use of my legs is something that I am very grateful for. We are all living in an amazing time, where technology has given me the use of my legs again. It may not be exactly the same use as before my paralysis, but I am able to stand and walk. I see many technological advances that help the disabled world, and I believe there are many more to come. This technology and I were actually featured on a new Television show called "Joe Rogan Questions Everything". There were many more types of technology featured the same episode, but they were not targeted to the disabled world.
Emotive Life Sciences is a bioinformatics company that developed a type of technology that reads your brain waves. This device is placed on your head and has many sensors. It fits almost like a hat. What I like about this technology, is that wheelchair users can already use it. You can program it to a specific thought, and that thought will engage your wheelchair. I would love to see this technology be integrated for exoskeletons. In the show, Joe Rogan’s thoughts controlled a toy helicopter to fly. How cool would it be if your houses were set up with this technology? You would no longer need a service animal! This reminds me of the old cartoon show "The Jetsons". Imagine yourself waking up and using your thoughts to turn on your coffee maker, using your thoughts to turn on the shower, or even using your thoughts to open doors. This technology is and can be, very helpful for the disabled community.
Another type of technology that was on the show was nanobiotechnology. Ray Kurzweil is the director of engineering at Google, and he is predicting the integrated merging of humans and technology, using nanotechnology. He thinks this technology could replace blood cells and help cure diseases. Think of how important your IPhone is and how if it breaks you lose all of your information. I know it sucks when that happens, but you can back up your information to your computer. Ray is predicting that we will be able to do the same with our future merged technology. So, for example, in this pseudeo cyborg future, if you break a leg you would be able to go back into your biological hard drive and fix it. It would be the same with diseases. He also reminds us, however, that there are people in the world that would use this technology in negative ways, so it's important that we not let it fall into the wrong hands. Should all of this happen, how do we keep our thoughts our thoughts? We are in for a strange future.
“Technology is a double edged sword.”
The disability community should be excited about how technology may help them more and more in the future. We must also remember what we could be losing as we implement such technologies. After all, we will be gaining and losing at the same time.