Rebuilt Lives from New Technology

Focus: STOCKS

We sit on the precipice of amazing technologies, and we are just scratching the surface of the immense potential they can deliver, observes Michael A. Robinson of Money Morning.

He's a father of four, but Brian Shaffer can only dream of what millions of parents take for granted.

He'd love to be able to walk his daughter down the aisle when she gets married someday. Or climb into the bleachers to watch his son play football. Right now, doing either would be nothing short of a miracle.

On Christmas Eve 2010, Shaffer was in a horrible car crash. It left him paralyzed from the waist down.

That's why today, Shaffer is helping develop cutting-edge high tech that helps paraplegics walk again. He's part of a test program for a new powered "exoskeleton" that functions like a robotic walking suit.

The advanced device allows people with severe spinal cord injuries to sit, stand, walk, and even climb stairs on their own. Designed for ease-of-use, the relatively light and compact system is worn over a patient's clothes. It provides a whole new level of movement, far and away better than what's currently on the market.

"My kids have started calling me 'Iron Man,'" Shaffer says—a reference to the movie by that name starring Robert Downey, Jr. as a scientist who wears a powered suit of armor that, among other things, allows him to fly.

"It's unbelievable to stand up again," Shaffer adds. "It takes concentration to use at first, but once you catch on, it not that hard.