After waking up, Dennis lifts his numb legs into the exoskeleton. On the bedside table lies the neural interface Liviu Alpha. The interface translates the brain signals into data for the computer in the exoskeleton. The computer uses algorithms to translate this data into instructions for the little motors and tiny engines that sustain equilibrium and realize movement.
He likes it. After a few weeks of training and calibration, the control of his exoskeleton works seamlessly. It almost feels like the old days. He doesn’t even consciously think about walking. The intention is enough. He feels the small engines spinning, and his right leg moves forward. Exactly at the speed and distance he had envisioned.
Three years ago, Dennis woke up startled in the hospital of Innsbruck, Austria. A sudden crash against a boulder off-piste had left him paralyzed from the fourth vertebra down. After the disbelief, the anger, the sadness and the shock, he is now quite used to walking with his exoskeleton.
This morning he walks to his favorite coffee shop. Multitasking is not a problem. He listens to the illustrious jazz musician Chet Baker, unconsciously controls his exoskeleton, and meanwhile thinks about the offer he has received.
Liviu sent a newsletter about a new module yesterday: snowboarding with your exoskeleton. The Shaun White edition looks really slick. But he has doubts: snowboarding feels like part of his identity before the accident.
Not the new Dennis. And above all: is going down the slope any fun when a machine does all the work?