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Sridevi Vedula Sarma

A Buffalo-born doctor has developed technology that may greatly decrease the likelihood of false alarms during seizures. The technology would involve a device being implanted into the brain to control the waves.

So, how will her study help epilepsy patients in India? “Technology can be expensive. My research will help develop an accurate ‘closed-loop’ system that will be implanted in the brain. This device will suppress seizures without medication and side-effects and have a major impact on children in particular. Children with epilepsy can develop normally. In India, this technology will give kids the same opportunities as healthy kids without any social stigma,” she explains.

What the human brain is capable of achieving never ceases to amaze. What the human spirit can achieve is often more impressive.

Meet Trevor Fennig. Paralyzed from the chest down, Fennig would not allow his physical stigma to keep him from achieving a life’s goal: flying an aircraft.

“When I designed the system I suppose it was a little selfish. I was doing it for me. I wanted to fly helicopters.” A former Royal Airforce pilot, McQuillan became a paraplegic at age twenty-eight when an accident took the use of his legs. Decades later, he’s designed a tool to let dreams take flight.

Fennig wears a pneumatic leg brace that McQuillan invented. It moves the pedals of the helicopter via remote control, much like a video game. “It’s proportional to your thumb movements, so the speed you move your thumb at is the speed the leg will react,” McQuillan explains.

With this invention, the sky’s the limit for Fennig, despite his disability. “There will be a lot of people that will tell you, ‘You can’t fly a helicopter, you’re paralyzed’. So it’s nice to know that you can really do just about anything, you just have to do it differently,” Fennig says over the pilot’s microphone, several thousand feet in the air.

It’s one of a kind: the only devide in the world approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for paraplegic pilots, and it’s right here in Colorado. In a state with so many veterans, it’s a game changer. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back who want to remain in their chosen professions. With this tool, you can fly EMS, you can do police support, you can do fire suppression. If you’re a pilot, if you can fly, you can do it,” McQuillan says.

Sometimes these posts are a pleasure to write.