Investing in our Youth – This Young Man’s Inspiring Invention Helping Amputees

Investing in our Youth – This Young Man’s Inspiring Invention Helping Amputees

On a personal note:

I’m sorry for my long pause on ‘Three Lines and a Circle’ posts.  To be honest I’ve been overwhelmed by the news of the world and wondered if it was even worth my time and effort.  That being said – I realize that NOW more than ever it is important to keep profiling and highlighting stories from this beautiful Earth that bring awareness to the actions and efforts of people trying to forge ahead in this world with LOVE, GRACE, HOPE and PEACE.

Please enjoy this latest post.  Investing in our young people and encouraging them to grow in their creativity, education and emotional strength is crucial for the future of our world.  We all live here and it is the responsibility of us all to ensure our young have what they need to protect themselves and future generations.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This High Schooler Invented a Low-Cost, Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm

Full Article:  Smithsonian Magazine / Margaret Osborne

Ten years ago, when Benjamin Choi was in third grade, he watched a “60 Minutes” documentary about a mind-controlled prosthesis. Researchers implanted tiny sensors into the motor cortex of the brain of a patient who moved a robotic arm using only her thoughts. Choi was fascinated by the concept, likening it to something out of a Star Wars movie.

“I was really, really amazed at the time because this technology was so impressive,” he says. “But I was also alarmed that they require this really risky open brain surgery. And they’re so inaccessible, costing in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Years later, when the pandemic hit in 2020, Choi—a tenth grader living in Virginia—suddenly found himself with ample free time. The lab in which he’d planned to spend his summer researching aluminum fuels had shut down. But the documentary he had seen years earlier stuck with him, and he decided to use his spare time to build a less-invasive prosthetic arm himself.

In his makeshift laboratory on the ping-pong table in his basement (where he sometimes worked 16 hours a day), Choi independently designed the first version of his robotic arm using his sister’s $75 3-D printer and some fishing line. The printer couldn’t build pieces over 4.7 inches in length, so Choi printed the arm in tiny pieces and bolted and rubber banded it together. In total, it took about 30 hours to print.

While most brain-powered  prosthetics require invasive surgery, Choi’s uses a pair of electrodes and a custom algorithm to move the arm with a combination of brain signals and head movements.  Choi’s invention, which recently earned him funding from MIT, costs just $300 to produce.

“Maybe this sounds a little cliche’,” Choi said.  “but you can really help people I think through engineering, through technology.”  

Be Kind

Be Love

Be Well

PLEASE continue to donate and support the charities, non-profits, and community groups that are working hard to make a difference and address problems and issues that ring true to your heart locally, nationally and abroad.

In addition to local and regional groups, here are a few of my go-to’s:

It’s Never Too Late for Love

It’s Never Too Late for Love

Fifty years ago, at Loyola University, Jeanne Gustavson met a man she believes would have made the perfect husband. But her family objected, because his skin was not White. So, she broke up with Steve Watts – but she never forgot about him. And more than four decades later, Jeanne found him again.

Steve Hartman / CBS Sunday Morning

be kind . be grace . be there for each other

be PEACE

80 year old man walks through blizzard to rescue 3 cars of people

80 year old man walks through blizzard to rescue 3 cars of people

Sask. woman survives 14-hour ordeal in swirling blizzard with help from nearby stranger

By: Florence Hwang – CBC News

Shannon St. Onge found herself in the thick of a blizzard on Monday evening, lost on a Saskatchewan road and peering out her rolled-down window for a glimpse of the road. 

With a little luck — and the help of a stranger in Vancouver who saw a Facebook post — she and six others were saved by an 80-year-old retiree who walked through the whirling snow to help them. 

“Once we arrived to [his] house, and I parked the car, I got out and jumped into his arms and gave him a great big bear hug,” she said. “I was sobbing with gratitude, I was so grateful.”   

Monday started as an ordinary day for St. Onge, who lives in Pense, Sask. She drove the approximately 25 kilometres east into Regina for work.

“I needed to go into the office to sign a cheque. I thought it wouldn’t take very long,” said St. Onge, who is the director of finance with First Nations University of Canada.

She kept an eye on highway conditions throughout the day, so she knew about the forecasted blizzard, but thought she could make it. Without giving it much thought, she filled up her car, picked up a new phone charger and bought some pizza for her kids’ dinner. Those actions would help her get through a 14-hour ordeal in the whiteout storm.

She took a dirt road because she thought it would be better for the winter driving conditions, but whiteout conditions left her confused and lost.

She drove at a snail’s pace with her window rolled down, using the edge of the road as her guide. After a while she realized she was lost.

“There was no visibility, and there was no way I was going any further, because it would have been far too dangerous.” 

She pulled over and called 911. The operator suggested she wait the storm out, because she was warm and parked with a full tank of gas.

“Would the gas tank last until morning? What if I was hit by another vehicle? What if I fell asleep and the tailpipe was blocked? What if I didn’t make it home at all?” she wondered, according to a later Facebook post.

St. Onge recomposed herself and went into problem-solving mode. She could make out a sign that said “Bouvier Lane,” giving her some sense of where she was. She got the idea to pin her location on Google maps.

She posted her location on the Pense community Facebook page. Community members started guessing at where she was located. One man — who happened to be originally from Pense, but now lives in Vancouver — figured out her location. 

“He private messaged me and said, ‘I know that family. Send me your phone number and I’ll contact their son,'” St. Onge said. 

Andre Bouvier Sr. was doing some genealogy research when he got the call about St. Onge’s plea for help. He decided to help her out, despite his wife’s concern for his well-being heading out in the storm.

The 80-year-old retiree tried to start his tractor, but it was dead. 

He bundled up, grabbed an LED flashlight and walked about half a kilometre into the raging storm to search for St. Onge’s car. He knew he could walk to where she was as long as he stayed on the road.

“The worst part was the wind. Halfway there, I had to put my mitts in front of my eyes,” he said.

To Bouvier’s surprise, he found two other vehicles with people who also needed help stranded alongside St. Onge.

He led the seven stranded people back to his home and welcomed them in for the evening. 

“They fed us, laughed with us, bonded with us, and gave us blankets, pillows and a warm place to rest our eyes for a few hours,” said St. Onge. 

At 5:00 a.m. CST,  Bouvier plowed his driveway for his guests. By 5:30 a.m., the motorists were back on the road, despite sub-par conditions.

St. Onge has made new friends through this ordeal. Bouvier became a hero overnight. His son and daughter shared a video St. Onge’s made about the ordeal and it went viral.

Bouvier didn’t want much credit for his efforts for a stranger in need.

“Everybody would have done the same thing,” he said. “You don’t think about it, you just do it.”

be kind . be grace . help one another

be PEACE

An Usual Rescue

An Usual Rescue

Hikers used their turbans to save 2 men in waterfall pool

By Brahmjot Kaur / NBC News

Five hikers in British Columbia used their turbans to save two men on their trail when the pair unexpectedly fell into a pool below a waterfall.

Kuljinder Kinda and four friends were hiking in Golden Ears Provincial Park on Oct. 11 when a group nearby told them that two men had slipped on a slick rock and fallen into a pool above the lower falls and could not pull themselves back to safety.

Video of the incident is being shared widely after Kinda posted his recording on WhatsApp and it made its way to hiking channels.

Kinda said the people who stopped to help asked them to call emergency services, but they didn’t have cellphone service. That’s when they came up with the idea to create a rope out of their turbans, one of five articles worn by Sikhs as headdresses usually made of cotton that protects their uncut hair.

“We were trying to think how we could get them out, but we didn’t know how to,” said Kinda, an electrician originally from Punjab, India, who is Sikh. “So we walked for about 10 minutes to find help and then came up with the idea to tie our turbans together.”

Kinda and his friends removed their turbans and other articles of clothing to securely knot the fabric together and create a 10-meter (about 33 feet) makeshift rope to safely pull the two men back onto the trail. They threw the rope down to the men and instructed them to tighten it before they pulled themselves up.

“In Sikhi, we are taught to help someone in any way we can with anything we have, even our turban,” Kinda said.

Kinda said he and his friends weren’t scared for their safety.

“We just really cared about the safety of the men,” he said.

be brave . be kind . help each other

be PEACE

Peaceful Words for Shelter Dogs

Peaceful Words for Shelter Dogs

This 11-year-old is helping hard-to-place dogs in shelters get attention — and find homes

By Cathy Free / Washington Post

Evan Bisnauth admits he doesn’t always have the most attentive audience when he reads books aloud to shelter dogs at Animal Care Centers of NYC: There are yowls and barks, and sometimes, a dog will fall asleep on its back with its legs in the air. 

“That’s when I know they’re really happy and relaxed,” said Evan, 11. 

It was the summer of 2019 when Evan’s mom, Amanda Persaud, heard about Books With Boroughbreds, an Animal Care Center program that encourages children to enhance their reading skills by reading to abandoned dogs. She took the bus with her son the following weekend from their home in the Bronx to the shelter in Manhattan.

“I spent five hours reading to every dog on the first day,” said Evan, who is now in sixth grade. “After that, I wanted to go every weekend.”

“I’d tell them at the end of the story, ‘Don’t give up — I have a lot of hope for you and I know you’ll get adopted,’ ” Evan said.

When the coronavirus pandemic put his Saturday visits on hold last year, Evan decided to start a Facebook page, EB and the Pets, where he could post short videos he’d made of dogs that needed homes. 

Even if he couldn’t read to the dogs, perhaps he could help them to get adopted if he told their stories, he said.

The shelter supplied Evan with photos of dogs that were most in need of adoption and he got to work making videos with help from an app. The most recent one on his page is a video a shelter made for Myna, a 9-year-old black and white dog with some medical issues. 

He also made a video for Marco, a pup in need of an emergency adoption. 

“Marco is hoping for a helping hands and holding on to the dream that someone will give him a second chance,” he wrote in the post that accompanied an animated video of him interviewing the dog. “He’s scared and losing faith and will need someone to continue with training at a slow but steady pace,” Evan continued. “He requires an adult only single dog home. Please click the link in the bio to learn more and share his story!” 

Another video that featured a dog named Freddy received nearly 2,000 views after it was shared by several pet adoption charities.

“He is social, friendly and has engaging conversations that will make you want to know all about him,” wrote Evan. “[Freddy] is charming and quiet — he is a lover of human and cats and is looking to make his life all about you.” 

All of the dogs featured by Evan quickly find new homes or are picked up by other animal rescue organizations, his mom noted. 

“Either way, they get a second chance,” said Persaud, 39. “Evan tries to never let them down.” 

Evan was honored last month as ASPCA’s Kid of the Year — an award that he hopes might inspire other people his age to help shelter animals in their own communities.

“Helping dogs has brought me a lot of happiness,” he said. “If everybody would read to dogs and try to get them adopted, think how much difference that would make in the world.”

Adoptions of shelter animals increased during the pandemic as more people stayed home, and in some cities, there was actually a shortage of adoptable dogs for a time. Some 90 percent of dogs adopted during the pandemic have remained in their adoptive homes. 

But there is still an abundance of dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted across the country. The most recent numbers from the ASPCA, from 2019, show at the time there were 3.1 million dogs living in shelters across the United States.

Evan’s crusade to help dogs in New York City has helped raise awareness and make older or unsociable dogs more adoptable, said Risa Weinstock, president and CEO of Animal Care Center.

“It’s remarkable to see the calming effect his reading has on each dog,” Weinstock said. “The dogs can sense that he’s there just for them, and there is a visible reduction in their stress level.” 

“Evan’s dedication as a junior volunteer has given hundreds of dogs a taste of what it would be like to live in a home curled up with a good book and a best friend,” she added.

Persaud said that she and her husband, Edward Bisnauth, noticed Evan had a special knack for communicating with dogs at a young age. He would snuggle next to the family’s pets and practice his reading skills in soft and soothing tones, she said.

“When he started reading to the dogs at the shelter, I noticed that he’d make the effort to find out which dogs needed the most help,” said Evan’s mom. 

“He’s found something that he loves and he’s very dedicated to what he’s doing,” she added. “As a parent, I find that really admirable. The only problem is that he now wishes he could bring all of the dogs home.”

Evan said he knows that isn’t possible, so he’s aiming for the next best thing.

“Someday, I want to have my own animal rescue and I’ll take in every dog I find that needs help,” he said.

“I’m still going to read books to them,” he added. “Every single one.”

be kind . be grace . be compassion

be PEACE

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