Archives for May 2015

Wounded Veterans are Getting a Second Chance Thanks to the Alfred Mann Foundation

A retired army staff sergeant is receiving a gift from the Alfred Mann Foundation

Staff Sergeant James Sides was out on patrol in Afghanistan when he spotted an improvised explosive device. The IED had to be disarmed, and Sides was trained in diffusion in disposal. He went to work on the bomb. It was his second tour, so the task was not unfamiliar but somehow something went wrong.

The IED detonated in close proximity to his body. The shock threw him backward and broke his forearm. The blast also tore his right hand away completely. Although the Army was able to help Sides to a recovery, and he retired to civilian life, he was still missing a part of himself. Everyday tasks like putting on clothes became difficult to manage with only one hand.

The Alfred Mann Foundation reached out to Rogers & Cowan Executive Vice President Steve Doctrow for help. Together, they found Sides and decided to try and change his life for the better. They fitted him with a radio transceiver, which was implanted surgically into his forearm. The device is designed to read how his muscles move and react, making it possible to predict how his hand might actually move. The transceiver makes something like a link between the mechanical hand that Sides wears, and the device within his arm. To an outside observer, it’s almost like Sides is willing it to happen with his mind.

Veterans have some unique needs when it comes to healthcare, so it’s important to consider how our technology can best assist the transition back into civilian life. For James Sides, the Alfred Mann Foundation made a true and measurable difference in his life. In the future, devices like the kind that Sides wears, will see much wider adoption. Not just in the military either.