The VA will now pay for veterans’ robotic legs

va will now pay veterans robotic legs united states army soldier
After risking life and limb for the country, it seems that the least the Department of Veterans Affairs could do is help its wounded veterans recover once they’ve returned home. And now, the VA is implementing a new national policy, in which certain veterans who have suffered spinal cord injuries will be eligible for robotic legs, courtesy of the agency. Considering that these high-tech devices cost around $77,000, having the VA foot the bill will be a game-changer for many paralyzed veterans. According to the AP, this decision marks “the first federal coverage policy for robotic legs in the United States.”

In one of the rare instances of good press for the VA, the new policy has been applauded by lawmakers and industry experts alike as a huge step forward for the brave men and women of the U.S. military.

“In an era where the department is much too fixated on defending its lack of accountability for misbehaving employees and providing services that are far outside the scope of its original mission,” wrote representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, in an email to the AP, “it’s refreshing to see the VA focusing on something that strikes at the core of what it was set up to do,”

The robotic legs will come from ReWalk, which manufactures “wearable robotic exoskeletons” for those with mobility issues. “The policy outlines a sound process to educate, train and, importantly, to provide individual veterans with a ReWalk personal device so that they may walk at home and in the community,” ReWalk CEO Larry Jasinski said in a press release. “We expect this landmark national policy will substantially improve the health and quality of life of many veterans in the years ahead.”

Unfortunately, the ReWalk robotic legs won’t work for everyone. As per an NPR report, these particular devices “only work for certain paraplegics who meet height and weight requirements.” Thus far, the company has found 45 paralyzed veterans whose height and weight qualify them for the ReWalk legs, but there are still many others who may not be able to reap the benefits of the VA’s generosity.

Still, it’s progress, and while it may be slow and small, it’s admittedly far better than before.

Mobile

Photograph your meal with the Foodvisor app for caloric, nutritional estimates

Many of us understand the importance of a healthy diet, but counting calories and diving into nutritional data is a lot of work. The Foodvisor app for Android or iOS gives you a calorific and nutritional breakdown of your food from a photo.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Emerging Tech

Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

Scientists from Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology have developed a system which can continuously produce electrical energy and hydrogen by dissolving carbon dioxide in an aqueous solution.
Emerging Tech

Scientists investigate how massive stars die in dramatic hypernova events

Our Sun will gradually fade before expanding into a red giant at the end of its life. But larger mass stars undergo extreme explosive events called hypernovas when they die which outshine their entire galaxies.
Emerging Tech

Pilotless planes are on their way, but would you fly in one?

Airbus says advancements in artificial intelligence can help it toward its goal of building a plane capable of fully autonomous flight, though whether passengers can be persuaded to travel in one is another matter entirely.
Emerging Tech

‘Tech vest’ prevents Amazon workers from colliding with robot co-workers

Amazon workers at its fulfillment centers are using "tech vests" to help protect them from collisions with their robot co-workers. The robots already have obstacle avoidance sensors, but the belt offers another layer of safety.
Emerging Tech

3D printers are finally affordable. Here are the best models under $500

3D printer prices have dropped dramatically over the past few years, but just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth buying. Here, we’ve rounded up all the cheap 3D printers that are actually worth spending your money on.
Mobile

T-Mobile 5G rollout: Here is everything you need to know

2019 will be a huge year for T-Mobile. Not only is a merger with Sprint likely, but T-Mobile is also in the midst of building out its next-generation mobile service. Here's everything you need to know about the T-Mobile 5G rollout.
Emerging Tech

ANYmal dog robot can get back on its feet when someone pushes it over

Roboticists at ETH Zurich have demonstrated how their ANYmal four-legged robot is capable of taking a kicking and keeping on walking -- or getting back to its feet if it's pushed over.
Emerging Tech

A.I. finds non-infringing ways to copy drugs pharma spends billions developing

Researchers have demonstrated an artificial intelligence which can find new methods for producing existing pharmaceuticals in a way that doesn’t infringe on existing patents. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Coinstar machines will let you swap cash for Bitcoin at your local grocery store

Coinstar, the company which owns the coin exchange machines found at grocery stores and elsewhere, will soon let you easily buy Bitcoin with your cash money. Here's how it will work.
Emerging Tech

Facebook hasn’t given up on the idea of building an internet drone

Facebook's efforts to provide internet connectivity from the skies using solar-powered drones suffered a blow last year when the company abandoned its "Aquila" drone project. But the company clearly hasn't given up on the idea.