This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

Wrong legs / 29 August 2008

Remember Wallace and Grommet and the 'Wrong Trousers'? Well …

A robotic set of legs to help people paralysed from the waist down has been designed by a Disabled Israeli engineer. exocrip cartoon

Crippen exocrip cartoon

The device effectively mimics the exoskeleton of a crab. By using a backpack device and braces on their legs and by selecting the activity they want from a remote control wrist band, users can stand, walk and climb steps. Although users have to walk with crutches, they control the legs through changes in centre of gravity and upper body movements.

A spokesperson from some big disability charity or other (O.K, I couldn’t decipher my notes!) commented that psychologically, it also lets those confined to a wheelchair live at the upright level and make eye contact with normal people (my italics!).

Seems to me that it would make more sense (rather than spending zillions on designing a device that would only be suitable for a small number of Disabled people) to spend a lot less removing all of the barriers within society that Disable us in the first place. Or am I being too simplistic again?!

Enlarged image - If you want to see an enlarged image, or want to access a description of the cartoon accompanying this blog, then just click on the cartoon itself and it will open as a much bigger version along with a description of the cartoon.