Manchester, NH, July 12, 2012 --(PR.com
)-- The famous British inventor Sir Arthur C. Clarke once opined “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Indeed, recent advances in prosthetic technologies, such as the iWalk BiOM, have not only dazzled the senses and given rise to the feeling that “all is possible,” but they have also led to a desire to continually create and innovate. But what is innovation without a human face? What is advancement without a living and breathing recipient?
It does researchers and technological pioneers well to remember the people who benefit from the magic of these emerging products. Their faces are seemingly etched in one’s mind as things once thought unimaginable are attempted and measured risks that lead to huge rewards are taken.
In the field of prosthetics, those faces belong to returning war veterans who lost limbs while defending our country. Those faces are young children who require adaptive devices to run, climb and play with their classmates. They are accident victims who hope new technology will help them regain their livelihood and mobility.
Thankfully, Next Step Orthotics and Prosthetics is able to encounter all of these individuals and customize services to meet their needs. Next Step clients are often invited to beta-test new technologies and products, giving them access to the latest developments in the field. With this freedom to create, Next Step has been able to establish new partnerships, serve people from around the globe and develop satellite offices to better address supply and demand.
Late last year, Next Step entered into a partnership with iWalk of Bedford, MA, earning the distinction of being an iWalk-Certified Bionics Center and becoming one of the nation’s only prosthetic providers to commercially offer the BiOM powered ankle. The BiOM is one of the latest advances in the field of prosthetics and is the world’s first bionic lower-leg system to utilize robotics to replicate the function of the foot, Achilles tendon and calf muscles. This ground-breaking technology provides users with a powered “push-off” for each step and has been proven in studies to normalize gait biomechanics, walking speeds and metabolic energy use of lower-limb amputees. It enables them to walk for the first time with the same natural motions and required effort as their peers with intact limbs. The BiOM allows amputees to achieve and exceed their active lifestyle goals and to lead the most fruitful, productive lives possible.
This technological magic is at work in the life of Stefan Isenberg, a 32-year-old Goffstown, NH resident who had his right leg crushed by a large truck in 2009. He eventually underwent an amputation as a result of this work-related accident. One year after being fit with a traditional prosthesis, Isenberg became one of the initial recipients of the BiOM by iWalk, allowing him to walk as if on his biological leg again.
Now Isenberg is back to work and enjoying the many activities he took pleasure in prior to his accident, which include snowboarding, dirt bike riding and working out at the gym. He looks forward to trying hockey again and getting back out on the basketball court. Isenberg is especially excited about heading to the park with his children. “[My children] think that the new leg is awesome and are always commenting about how Dad has a ‘robot leg,’’’ he says.
Stories like Isenberg’s make Next Step continue to strive for something more, something better and something awe-inspiring. Even with the high-tech wizardry and the multitude of gadgets being devised in labs each and every day, Next Step still holds to the belief that technology is just a means to a much greater end – creating better lives for the clients that are served.
Whether an individual is a practitioner straight out of college or a seasoned professional who has seemingly seen and done it all, the fact will always remain that only when a prosthetist puts a face to technology can he or she truly be aware of its power. Knowing these innovations are helping people who have families, hopes and dreams helps Next Step provide deeper levels of care and empower clients to reach new heights. At the end of the day, people fuel the passion of technology, and the ensuing advances provide the hope that sustains.
Matthew J. Albuquerque is a certified practitioner in orthotics and prosthetics with more than 20 years of experience and is the president of Next Step Orthotics and Prosthetics, which has offices in Manchester, NH, Newton, MA and Warwick, RI. He can be reached at 603.668.3831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Next Step President Matthew Albuquerque, CPO