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:

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

Welcoming Refugees

Welcoming Refugees

Kenneth and Adi Martinez immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 2011, and when given the opportunity to help a family of four who recently fled Afghanistan, they jumped at the chance.

“We know exactly what it feels like to come to a brand new county with no family or anything,” Kenneth told Good Morning America. “We know it can be difficult, and in the case [of Afghan refugees], it’s very difficult.”

The government expects tens of thousands of Afghan refugees will come to the United States over the next year, and resettlement agencies are working with organizations and individuals like Kenneth and Adi to help the refugees find housing, jobs, schools, and medical care.

Kenneth, Adi, and their two small children live in the Seattle area and offered their spare bedroom to the family from Afghanistan. Over the last month, they have been getting to know one another and their respective cultures, with the adults cooking and the kids playing together. Kenneth and Adi are helping the family get adjusted to life in the U.S. and bought them shoes and coats to prepare for the winter. 

“Even though we may think we don’t have a lot, we have an extra bedroom, we have the means and the resources and the ability to help,” Kenneth said. “We are happy that we can help

be kind . be compassionate . help one another .

be PEACE

Sharing a Batch of Kindness

Sharing a Batch of Kindness

At the start of the pandemic, Maryland teenager Elise Chang would bake cookies and drop them off at her friends’ houses along with a stuffed animal.  Her friends loved the gesture and sent her photos of themselves with the stuffed animals, keeping them all connected.  “That’s why I wanted to continue doing it, because of those small but really meaningful reactions,”  Chang said.

She decided to use this as an opportunity to spread joy in her own neighborhood and launched the ‘Tough Cookie Service Project’, in which she delivers cookies to 20 neighbors each month and leaves a note encouraging them to do something kind for someone else. The pandemic has helped Chang see just how resilient people are, and how even the smallest gesture can mean so much.

“I love random acts of kindness”, Elise said. “You can just make someone smile when they weren’t originally or they’ll just be thinking about you or what you’ve done and want to continue giving kindness to others, which is really important to me.

be kind . be grace . give to others

be PEACE

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