In October, the Dana Point Robo-Techs - a 7th grade robotics team from Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel - presented their 2015 World Championship winning VEX IQ Middle School STEM Research Project to hundreds of guests at the Team Kids Innovative Thinkers Forum in Dallas, Texas.
The team of eight highly motivated, committed young individuals chose to research how robotic devices could be engineered to help people heal and focused their research on robotic devices - including robotic exoskeletons - designed to help paralyzed veterans recover their mobility, rise up to eye-level, and even walk again.
Exoskeletons offer many possible benefits to those with spinal cord injuries such as improving muscle mass, bone density, circulation, bowel and bladder function, as well as reducing spasticity, pain, and increasing one’s dignity by allowing veterans to stand on their own two feet again. Paralyzed veteran U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Gary Linfoot walked for the first time with his EKSO Exoskeleton on Veteran’s Day, 2013. He says “to have the chance to walk again, to see my wife Mari eye-to-eye, and hug my children heart-to-heart is a feeling I cannot begin to explain.”
The Dana Point Robo-Techs now speak publicly in the community to create awareness and advocate action through an online petition to encourage the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide robotic mobility devices, like exoskeletons, to these heroes injured in the line of duty protecting our freedoms.