Paralyzed in a skiing accident 23 years ago, Amanda Boxtel sustained a permanent spinal cord injury from the pelvis down. She inspires and educates audiences and takes you on a personal journey of how bionic exoskeleton technology has afforded her enhanced mobility and has impacted her quality of life. Learn how this life-changing advancement has helped her walk again, and has propelled her as a national inspiration to others. She is a dynamic, passionate, motivational speaker and has been featured at numerous venues including TED, TEDx, The Aspen Ideas Festival, The Wall Street Journal’s NewFronts 2014, USA Science & Engineering Festival, and Singularity University’s European Summit. Amanda currently serves as Executive Director for Bridging Bionics Foundation.
Boxtel will present ;Walking in Style – How can 3D Printing Design Enhance Functional Robotics?
Smithers Apex: Wellness and Healthcare are two of the major fields wearable technologies can make a true impact in people’s lives. Based on your experience and the plethora of technologies and products out in the market, what are the opportunities for companies to really augment human experience for people with disabilities through technology?
Boxtel: We are in an era where augmenting human potential is no longer a stretch of the imagination. We are moving closer to the day when any person with a musculoskeletal challenge will have complete freedom of mobility through the convergence of robotics, neural interfaces, 3D printing, smart materials and nano-technologies. This is an opportune time for companies to collaborate for the optimal end-user experience.
Smithers Apex: How do you go about taking the leap of trying out a new technology available to a few to going main stream so more people have the opportunity to take advantage of it?
Boxtel: Rehabilitation facilities across the country are making bionic exoskeleton technology more readily available for end-users to try. ReWalk is the only FDA approved device for home use, however other manufacturers are on the horizon working to make the technology available for daily living beyond the rehab center. We'll see a huge increase in accessibility and affordability within the next couple of years.
Smithers Apex: What role does 3D printing can play into this augmented human experience?
Boxtel: Rather than mechanizing humans, how do we begin humanizing machines? Freedom of self-expression is our common language. Often we become enamored with the gee-whiz potential of technology and beauty and design gets lost in functionality. 3D printing capabilities enable us to fuse individuality and personality into the design itself so it becomes a form of self-expression. The end-user shifts from passive consumer to an active co-creator and an integral part of the design process.
Smithers Apex: What are you looking forward to hear at Smart Fabrics and Wearable Technology 2015?
Boxtel: I'm interested in learning about smart materials that can advance technology and an end-user's experience. I foresee this being a tremendous networking opportunity and learning environment.
Learn more about Amanda Boxtel