Debra & Sara Ruh
Debra & Sara Ruh

Science and medical technology advancements are helping people with disabilities see, hear and walk again. In a recent BBC article Cyborgs: The truth about human augmentation reveals exciting technology and scientific advances that are augmenting people’s lives. Exciting times for people with disabilities assuming you have the means to pay for these life-changing advancements. Let’s look at a few examples:

Bionic Eye

photo of a woman with a Bionic eye
Bionic eye

Another BBC Article is about Argus II or the Bionic Eye: I am Blind…now I have Bionic Eyes. It is a system that includes three parts: glasses, converter box and an electrode array. The glasses have attached a camera and they transmit images to the converter box. The converter box sends signals to the electrode array that was implanted on the retina.


What is it like to see again after years of blindness? Fran Fulton’s sight was restored with a remarkable new eye implant, price tag: $150,000.
Bionic Ear

Ear Diagram
Ear Diagram

The bionic ear is being credited as the first device to replace a sensory organ. The ‘bionic ear’: the couple who helped the world to hear explores the topic. A cochlear implant or Bionic Ears is a small, complex electronic device that can help provide a sense of sound to people that are deaf or hard-of-hearing.


The Computerized Exoskeleton Could Help Millions of People Walk Again. ReWalk is a wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion allowing individuals with Spinal Cord Injury walk.

Gene Laureano walks with the aid of ExoSkelton made by ReWalk, price tag: $69,500

Picture of the ReWalk

These scientific and medical breakthroughs are changing people’s lives. The problem is that these advancements are out of reach for millions of people. The good news is that we have the funding, knowledge, and the social drive to eliminate many of the barriers.
Here are a few programs bringing scientific and medical advancements to people in developing countries.

World Wide Hearing provides access to affordable hearing aids to youth in developing countries.
Fred Hollows Foundation has helped restore the sight of more than 1,000,000 people worldwide.
The Nippon Foundation is assisting with the operation of schools to train them, in the hope of restoring the mobility and independence of persons with disabilities in Southeast Asia.
Clinton Foundation and Standard Chartered Bank expand their fundraising and eye care programs to help reach the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and WHO’s VISION 2020 initiative to eradicate avoidable blindness globally by 2020.

Society needs to expand on these types of programs to assure these advancements are available to more people in the future.

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