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Transportation Medicine Robotics

Austria's 'Bionic Man' Dies In Car Crash 200

Posted by timothy
from the sad-to-hear dept.
euphemistic writes "An Austrian man who became the first person outside the US to wear thought-powered 'bionic' arms has died from injuries sustained in a car crash ... Kandlbauer, who would have turned 23 next month, sustained severe head injuries when the specially modified car he was driving swerved off the road in the south east of Austria and crashed into a tree on October 19. The cause of the accident is not yet known, particularly whether the neurally-controlled arm-prostheses he had been fitted with might have played a role."
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Austria's 'Bionic Man' Dies In Car Crash

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  • I wonder... (Score:5, Funny)

    by zoom-ping (905112) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:25PM (#34007582)
    ... if pirates ever crashed ships into rocks, cliffs etc because of their 'bionic' limbs.
  • by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:25PM (#34007586) Journal

    Where have I heard this story before...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:28PM (#34007612)

    I wonder if the arm turned blue when it crashed?

  • by chrism238 (657741) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:31PM (#34007640)
    Great to see that [Australia] is firmly in the tags for this story.
  • by mirix (1649853) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:35PM (#34007664)

    Interesting. I presume there software involved here?
    Any details on how the system works?

    Wouldn't be the first time a bug killed someone, but he could have just dozed off too...

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      OR he could have been passing some hot chicks in scant outfits and thought, I need to go talk to them forgetting he was driving down the road.

      • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:46PM (#34007758)

        OR he could have been passing some hot chicks in scant outfits and thought, I need to go talk to them forgetting he was driving down the road.

        OR....seeing the hot chicks, he thought of doing something else with that bionic arm of his on another part of his body and due to a glitch in the message queue for his arm, the arm immediately started doing what he wanted to do on his extremity - the hand made a fist and the arm started jerking up and down very rapidly on the steering wheel causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

        • OR....seeing the hot chicks, he thought of doing something else with that bionic arm of his on another part of his body and due to a glitch in the message queue for his arm, the arm immediately started doing what he wanted to do on his extremity - the hand made a fist and the arm started jerking up and down very rapidly on the steering wheel causing him to lose control of the vehicle.

          DAMN that's wrong...SO WRONG but I couldn't stop LMFAO.

      • by udippel (562132) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @11:14PM (#34008476)

        OR he could have been passing some hot chicks in scant outfits

        Where do you live? It's late autumn in Austria. And fscking cold, if that's what you had in mind ... .

        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Autumn? As in fall? As in the leaves fall off the trees because it's getting cold and winter is soon?

          I'm in the northern hemisphere of the globe (US) and it's the end of summer beginning of fall/autumn here. But I'm not too far off from Canada and we still get 70 degree or so days. Today, it was a nice and sunny 75 degrees which brought the girls out in shorts.

          • ... it's the end of summer beginning of fall/autumn here. But I'm not too far off from Canada and we still get 70 degree or so days.

            Is that in Kelvin?

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              Why would it be? I said I was in the US, and we use Fahrenheit here. It's one of those things the foreigners claim makes us stupid. However, I'm second guessing that entire stupid thing though.

              • by mwvdlee (775178)

                Using Fahrenheit isn't stupid.
                Not mentioning you're using Fahrenheit on a website which is read by many people from countries where Celcius is used (i.e. most of the world), IS stupid.
                Unless ofcourse you want people to not understand you.

                • by sumdumass (711423) on Monday October 25, 2010 @02:12AM (#34009172) Journal

                  It's the entire "in america" thing where almost everyone who would be visiting a website would know that America uses Fahrenheit to measure temperature.

                  Anyways, I was attempting to call the GP silly because 70 kelvin is like -333 F and -203c. And of course 70 C is 343 kelvin and 158 F. When talking about the temp of the weather in a country, I don't think any of those other then 70 f would fit in this world.

                • by xaxa (988988)

                  70 degrees, in this context, can't mean anything else. It's annoying to have to convert it (21C) but it can hardly be called "stupid".

                  The predicted maximum temperature on this sunny day in London (UK) is 12C, it's currently 7C. This is cold, but not unreasonable for the time of year.

                • From Slashdot's FAQ [slashdot.org]:

                  Slashdot seems to be very U.S.-centric. Do you have any plans to be more international in your scope?

                  Slashdot is U.S.-centric. We readily admit this, and really don't see it as a problem. Slashdot is run by Americans, after all, and the vast majority of our readership is in the U.S. We're certainly not opposed to doing more international stories, but we don't have any formal plans for making that happen. All we can really tell you is that if you're outside the U.S. and you have news, submit it, and if it looks interesting, we'll post it.

                  It is worth noting that there is a Japanese Slashdot run by VA Japan. While we helped them a little in their early days, they essentially run their own content without any real involvement from us... none of us can read Kanji! There are currently no plans to do other language or nation specific Slashdot sites.

                  Answered by: CmdrTaco
                  Last Modified: 10/3/04

                  There it is, straight from the horse's mouth. Slashdot is a U.S. site, so expect all kinds of backwards things from us hicks. Expect Fahrenheit for temperatures, and the Imperial system for most measurements. When you visit a site run by a different culture, you should expect that they will use systems they are familiar with and use regularly. When I visit a British site, for example, I expect temperatures in Celsius and measurements in Metric. I also expect to see a lot of superfluous l

          • by mikael_j (106439)

            You lucky bastard, it's pretty much winter here (Sweden), we've only had snowfall twice so far though...

            • by sumdumass (711423)

              It's getting cold at night though. Friday night I had to stay out and roast a hog for a benefit party Saturday morning and it got down to 43F (about 6.2c). We're bouncing back and forth on the temps as usual this time of year. One day it's nice a few days later, it's cold.

          • by Sique (173459)

            As a matter of fact, I am in Austria right now, and it is snowing [wetter.orf.at] right now with the temperatures barely above feezing point.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by ooshna (1654125)
      I think he was just looking at the ass of the hot girl jogging on the sidewalk next to him. The arms read his thoughts and turned toward what was on his mind.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      And it could be the arms, but not a "bug" as such. I don't think it's so easy that you just move your arms like you used to and the robot arms mimic it, you probably have to learn to control them. So he passed his driver's test, but that is usually not that stressful. Can you do emergency maneuvers under high stress? Ok, so many people can't even with two perfectly functioning arms but maybe he panicked and lost control of his arms. I mean most of us have a lifetime of muscle memory controlling our arms, ev

      • by ultranova (717540)

        I don't think it's so easy that you just move your arms like you used to and the robot arms mimic it, you probably have to learn to control them.

        According to this article [bbc.co.uk], it is that easy. And it should be noted that all motions related to controlling a car are learned, rather than inborn reflexes.

        Maybe he acted on the wrong instincts from back when he had real arms rather than controlling the robot arms, it doesn't take much of lapse to matter a lot.

        The problem is that he didn't have a drivers license ba

    • Just 10 months later, Kandlbauer passed his driving test and was given a specially-adapted Subaru. He returned to work as a warehouse clerk with his former employer.

      "Only in a Subaru"

    • "Any details on how the system works?"

      I assume some electronics are involved.

      In my past life as an automotive mechanic, occasionally I would hop in a customer's vehicle, turn the key into the run position...and watch the little, cheap, stick-on compass mounted on the dash slowly turn to face another direction.

      My point is that there are a ton of magnetic fields present inside of an automobile.

      Did the cyborg mechanics take into account such an environment?

      Considering they had implants in this dude's head, sim

      • by necro81 (917438)
        Medical devices must pass extremely rigorous tests of their susceptibility to electromagnetic radiation. The equipment gets put into a test chamber (and RF anechoic chamber) with a barrage of antennae pointed straight at it, and blasted with radiation from ~10 Hz to 10 GHz. It's not just RF, they'll subject more purely electric and magnetic fields, too.

        During these tests, the device is not permitted to act anomalously. Depending on how critical to life the device is or isn't, it may be permitted to
        • "Medical devices must pass extremely rigorous tests of their susceptibility to electromagnetic radiation."

          Then why all the signs telling pacemaker wearers to beware of the dude microwaving his breakfast burrito?

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        There were no implants in his head, and in fact nothing was implanted at all. The nerves that controlled his missing arm were rerouted to his chest, so when it felt like he was moving arm muscles in the missing limb he was actually flexing chest muscles, which controlled the prothesis.

        It's highly unlikely that magnetic fields played any part in the accident.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Death from a high speed car accident with a 23 year old driver is natural causes these days.
      • According to TFA, the guy "lost both his arms in September 2005 when he climbed a high-voltage electricity pylon as a dare ".
        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          He's 23; old enough to have reproduced by ten years. Darwin failed. OTOH, if he can't get laid, Darwin wins.

          Those who get laid win the Darwin game, not the intelligent teenager who can't get a date. My friend Linda, ten years younger than me, died a couple of years ago. But in the Darwin game, she beat me thirteen to two (she was a Catholic who had been repeatedly beaten by her ex husband; she wasn't exactly Einstein).

          The Darwin game is about procreation, and procreation only. If you die before you procreat

    • Any details on how the system worked at the time of the crash? Is it too much to ask for a black box for the arms and a black box for the modified car?

    • It is reportedly very unlikely that the bionic arm was involved since for driving it was said the he used a conventional prothesis. At least someone from the bionic company [ottobock.at] said so on TV when he was interviewed about this.
    • by lul_wat (1623489)
      >>I presume there software involved here?

      Yes. The same used in the Prius.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      A BBC article someone linked before says that the nerves that control the arm are rerouted into the chest, and what feels like moving the amoutated arm to the amputee moves the chest muscles instead, which control the prosthesis.

      Since none of the tech is implanted, he's not a cyborg. If he gets a prosthesis that's not removable (say, connected directly to the bone) he would be.

  • by Hoarse Whisperer (604444) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:39PM (#34007690)
    Recent updates to the story via the Slashdot tagging system suggest that he may have swerved to avoid a Kangaroo, a common cause of accidents in South Eastern Austria.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by syousef (465911)

      Recent updates to the story via the Slashdot tagging system suggest that he may have swerved to avoid a Kangaroo, a common cause of accidents in South Eastern Austria.

      What was that skip? Sonny's fallen off a cliff?!? Lead the way skip!

    • by ciaohound (118419)

      Perhaps he was trying to escape with his family over the Alps to Switzerland. We can only hope that the nuns removed the distributors from Herr Zeller's cars.
      (I'm going to hell for making these lame jokes about the poor guy.)

      • I'm going to hell for making these lame jokes about the poor guy

        At least you'll have lots of Slashdotters with you.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by ciaohound (118419)

          Then it will be hell!

          • Jean Paul Satre said "Hell is being locked in a room with your friends forever"

            Then again, all of his friends were French!

            • by TheLink (130905)
              Friends or no friends, forever is a very very very long time.

              Any imperfection is magnified by infinity.

              So if there really is eternal life after death, it's going to be bad if you are not transformed to be able to enjoy it.
    • Letterboxes in Australia are red with white stick on letters, and there are a few with letters removed that say AUSTR IA POST.
    • by Sique (173459)

      There are kangaroos in Austria [google.com].

  • by oliverk (82803) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:39PM (#34007694)

    ...if they can rebuild him?

  • An interesting motto (Score:5, Informative)

    by tftp (111690) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @08:47PM (#34007768) Homepage

    his motto was: "Don't live for others, live for yourself!"

    No further comment is necessary.

    • by thePig (964303)

      For a guy who lost both the arms, I think this motto is fine. This is a big deformity - and there will be a lot of bitterness in the soul against God and even to his fellow people. I do see some people overcoming that bitterness, but most people do not.

      Think about it - being dependent on others for the whole life, everybody else showing pity on you - it is enough to make any one bitter - I know for sure that I would be. Especially a person who knows the joy of being independent till 18 - it will be especial

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kandlbauer crashed after swerving to avoid hitting a koala or possibly a strudel.

  • by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @09:17PM (#34007938)
    Maybe he was trying to open windows, and crashed...
  • by shougyin (1920460) on Sunday October 24, 2010 @09:29PM (#34008000)
    This brings up a more alarming issue that I believe needs to be looked into before we begin walking around with cyborg parts attached. What if the machines have suicidal tendencies? I'm sure if I was attached to someone else and forced to do their bidding, then I wouldn't be too happy. Maybe his arm wasn't happy enough just being his arm! What if it dreamed of being a cell phone...and watching him talk blissfully on that beautiful piece of machinery just threw the arm over the edge!
    • Kind of like Spiderman 2?
      Well they weren't suicidal but they didn't like being controled.

    • * Dave Lister: Sometimes I think it's cruel giving machines a personality. My mate Petersen once brought a pair of shoes with artificial intelligence. Smart Shoes, they were called. It was a neat idea. No matter how blind drunk you were, they would always get you home. Then he got ratted one night in Oslo, and woke up the next morning in Burma. See, the shoes got bored just going from his local to the flat. They wanted to see the world, man, y'know? He had a helluva job getting rid of them. No matter wh

    • by nbauman (624611)

      Not so far-fetched.

      You will remember in Dr. Strangelove the Herman Kahn/Werner von Braun character's bionic hand that keeps autonomously making the Hitler salute and tries to strangle its owner.

      This was an echo of Fritz Lang's Metropolis (which is on the Wayback Machine).

  • Oddly enough I was watching the show "sci-fi science" yesterday and they were showing a person will a similar bionic arm.

    It wasn't the same person but it is erie (lake).

  • by tconnors (91126) on Monday October 25, 2010 @01:09AM (#34008938) Homepage Journal

    'Kandlbauer "accepted his fate in a manner that commanded great respect from all of us'. What? It's not fate when it was his own stupid choice to climb a high voltage pylon.

    Why was he allowed to drive despite his arms being controlled by an unreliable experimental medical/machine technique? His motto was "Don't live for others, live for yourself!". Meanwhile, he was always far more likely to contribute to other peoples deaths because he was allowed to drive.

    I just hope he didn't hurt or kill anyone else when he crashed.

    • by dwandy (907337)
      ok "t connor s", I can see you have some kind of bias against The Machines, but the rest of us are still pretty happy with the progress we're making.
  • ..particularly whether the neurally-controlled arm-prostheses he had been fitted with might have played a role.

    Can someone explain to me how bionic arms would be the cause of the crash, considering your arms are not used in controlling the velocity of a vehicle? His legs work! The brake pedal is the middle one, or one on the left (left-side drive). Sounds like the idiot was just going too damn fast! Darwin wins again. Shame.

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