Henry Evans

Robotics activist
In 2003, Henry Evans became quadriplegic and mute after a stroke-like attack. Now, working with Robots for Humanity, he's a pioneer in adaptive robotic tech to help him, and other disabled people like him, navigate the world.

Why you should listen

At age 40, Henry Evans was left mute and quadriplegic after a stroke-like attack caused by a hidden birth defect. Years of therapy helped him learn to move his head and use a finger -- which allows him to use a head-tracking device to communicate with a computer using experimental interfaces.

Now, Evans is a frequent and enthusiastic collaborator with robotics teams who are developing tools to help the severely disabled navigate their lives. He collaborates with Georgia Tech professor Charlie Kemp on using the Willow Garage PR2 robot as a surrogate, as well as Chad Jenkins' RLAB at Brown on quadrotors for expanding range of motion.

As the Willow Garage blog post says: "Every day, people take for granted the simple act of scratching an itch. In Henry's case, 2-3 times every hour of every day he gets an itch he can't scratch. With the aid of a PR2, Henry was able to scratch an itch for himself for the first time in 10 years."

Henry Evans’ TED talks

Henry Evans on the TED Blog

Technology

The Snowdenbot’s next adventure?

June 20, 2014

Edward Snowden hasn’t forgotten about the remote presence robot that allowed him to speak on the TED2014 stage and roam the halls of the conference, chatting with attendees. While in exile in Russia, Snowden has apparently used this system, affectionately dubbed the “Snowdenbot,” on a semi-regular basis. Andy Greenberg writes in Wired about how Snowden […]

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Ideas

Drones: will they save us or destroy us?

November 17, 2013

This week, we’ll be taking a deep dive into a provocative topic: drones. For all the rhetoric, you might think think that this is a zero sum game: Drones will either destroy the world, or they’ll save it. The truth, of course, is that, well, they’re set to do both. Sophisticated developments see extraordinary advances […]

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