Today’s Solutions: December 05, 2021

Paralyzed race car driver Sam Schmidt took his first steps in over two decades last month, thanks to an exoskeleton designed by Arrow Electronics. Schmidt, who has been paralyzed from his shoulders down since a racing accident in 2000, grew emotional as he walked around and gave full-body hugs.   

Arrow Electronics’ exoskeleton functions by supporting Schmidt’s legs as he walks forwards and stands, while an individual helps him balance from behind. Schmidt’s story demonstrates that, while the device is still in a prototyping stage, exoskeletons such as these hold great potential to help paralyzed individuals. Engineers are already working to actualize improved versions of this technology.  

Some of Arrow Electronics’ goals for the future are to make a device that does not require a supporting individual and to ensure that such a device would be entirely self-operable. While the difficulty of such an endeavor has been described as a mega-task, the future of exoskeletons looks bright. The ultimate function of an improved product would be to offer paralyzed individuals more personal agency and the freedom to walk about on their own. 

Even while he was paralyzed, Schmidt never gave up hope. He continued to pursue his dream of racing, even driving a specially designed Corvette he could guide with movements of his head. He’s competed in numerous races and still dreams of walking around with his race team and family. Recently, thanks to the innovative exoskeleton, Schmidt was able to dance at his daughter’s wedding. 

Image source: New Mobility

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Rwanda’s mountain gorillas represent a successful conservation story

Following years of poaching and habitat destruction, the population of mountain gorillas in Rwanda once numbered under 260 individuals. Now, Rwandan gorillas represent a rare conservation success and a key economic engine for the East ... Read More

Germany plans to put 15 million electric vehicles on its roads by 2030

Making electric cars the dominant vehicles on the road is key to curbing planet-warming emissions and protecting the climate. In a bid to reach that goal, an increasing number of countries and cities across the ... Read More

Here are 5 Indigenous-led eco-charities you can support today

The climate crisis has caused us to reconsider our consumerist lifestyles and turn to Indigenous peoples to learn from their superior understanding of living in harmony with nature. Here is a list of five organizations ... Read More

Scientists discover a peculiar new planet

Deep into the Hercules constellation, 855 light-years away from Earth, lies a record breaking exoplanet. This newly discovered gas giant was named TOI-2109b, and the thing that makes it so special is the fact it ... Read More

High altitude experiment shows that snow monkeys are excellent at fishing

Snow monkeys, also known as the Japanese macaque, are native to many of the main islands of Japan. These fluffy creatures are the most northern-based non-human primate out there, meaning they have some cold temperatures ... Read More