When I was in third grade, my teacher asked our class to come up with an invention that no one had ever seen before. Naturally, possessing a childlike imagination not yet sullied by the reality of the adult world, I drew a picture of rocket-powered rollerblades, an idea that I shamelessly stole from an episode of Jimmy Neutron. Even I, a nine-year-old larcenist of intellectual property, thought that rocket-powered rollerblades—while an undeniably awesome invention—was a far-fetched and unachievable concept—stuff of cartoon folly. Impossible.
However, it’s 2016 now and the times they’ve been a-changin’. There’s a hoverboard in every home in America, infants learn to text before learning to talk, and the Kardashians have hijacked the title of America’s First Family, residing in Calabasas and anchoring all of their professional achievements in the initial success of their eldest daughter’s sex tape (the American Dream is alive and well).
But with this tectonic cultural shift has come major advancements in the world of science as well. Superman still doesn’t exist as far as we know, but engineers in the field of prosthetic science have managed to leap massive obstacles in single bounds, developing prosthetic limbs and assistive devices leagues superior to what we’ve known in the past. In fact, these incredible advancements have lead to the latest worldwide sporting competition, the 2016 Cybathlon
, “a championship for pilots with disabilities who are using advanced assistive devices including robotic technologies.”
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