10 Heartwarming Tales of Technology Changing Lives | Stitch

10 Heartwarming Tales of Technology Changing Lives | Stitch

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- Technological innovation is ingrained into our society. And from the internet to artificial intelligence, it's constantly making our lives better. I'm Aaron Baker. Today we're taking you all across the country through stories that highlight the positive impact of technology, starting with medical breakthroughs. First we're going to Boston where WCVB's Mary Saladna has a heartfelt love story of two young people who were brought together by tech.

- I was an active person, and then three days later, I was bedridden on life support. - [Mary] Adam Millar admits it was a wake up call. He was 19 in Colorado pursuing a hockey career. He suddenly came down with what he thought were flu symptoms. It was actually his heart. It had lapsed into atrial fibrillation, which quickly turned into cardiogenic shock.

He nearly died, but two small Impella heart pumps designed and made by Danvers-based Abiomed saved Adam's life. - It's incredible, really incredible technology. - It's crazy what kind of just a simple idea of hey, allowing your heart to rest and recover and let these pumps pump blood throughout your body while it can relax and recover, and then three days later, your heart's fully back to functioning. - [Mary] A recovered Adam flew to Danvers and did an internship at Abiomed, where he met Casey Mucci, who started six months earlier in human resources.

- His story was very well known around the office and when he was coming on board, everybody was like, Adam Millar is coming. And I was like, who's this Adam Millar guy? - [Mary] Turns out he'd be the guy who'd pop the question just a couple of short years later. The company that made the device that saved his heart also brought these two hearts together. - I'm very, very grateful that I had the opportunity to join this company. Obviously it led me to Adam and our future, and yeah, I'm very grateful.

- [Mary] So is Adam. He lives every day with passion and purpose and gratitude. Even about his close call. - I mean it saved my life, brought me to my future wife, and gave me a passion for a career.

- He plans to use his mechanical engineering degree to design and develop the kind of cardiovascular medical devices that saved his life. - Wow, Adam got a partner, a career passion, and a new chance at life all at once. Next we're heading to Nebraska where KETV reporter Jack Keenan has the low down on a fun new invention that helps patients recover from injuries. (gentle music) - [Robert] My quality of life before this was none. - [Jack] This is what rehab looks like for 72-year-old Robert George.

A fall left Robert with multiple compound fractures severely limiting his daily life. - When I was home, I couldn't even go into my kitchen to cook a meal. Someone had to be with me all the time for about five months.

- [Jack] But thanks to an innovative rehab treadmill, Robert's last day of treatment has arrived. - [Robert] I don't think I'd have been where I am now without this. - [Jack] It's called a C-Mill machine, the only device of its kind in the state that uses games and virtual reality with body weight support to create engaging workouts. - It's a really incredible tool to make many balance corrections and gait corrections in order to prevent falls. - And then one where I'm walking, trying to avoid monsters, that's a good one.

Then there's a volleyball one and then a car one where you gotta keep your leg up where I couldn't do that before. - [Jack] And while a patient is having fun, getting their legs back under them. - Little bit more. There you go. - [Jack] They're staying mentally stimulated. - Not only do they stand on the machine longer, but they're laughing and smiling and competitive while they do it.

Having the patients make cognitive choices in real time. - [Jack] After over six months of therapy, Robert went from wheelchair dependent to no support needed on the C-Mill. - [Laura] He's made tremendous progress. He's also walking at over twice the speed from when he first did. - [Jack] Taking it one step at a time.

- [Robert] I'm able to walk with the aid of a cane or the walker. - [Jack] Towards living life Robert's way, - And I can cook my own meal now. - Next in Nebraska, a magnetic treatment has turned around one young woman's whole life. Here's KETV's Julie Cornell. (gentle music) - [Julie] It's hard fought happiness. There's a history of difficult to treat depression in Jenna's family, starting with her older sister Jill.

- My sister was 24 years old when she committed suicide. - They feel hopeless. They lose interest in things that they used to enjoy.

They don't feel motivated, they can't focus, they can't concentrate. The severe depression can lead people wanting to end it all. - [Julie] Psychiatrist Vidhya Selvaraj with Omaha Insomnia and Psychiatric Services is working with Jenna to treat her depression.

- [Jenna] Hello Champers, what are you doing? - [Julie] It's an illness always in the background of this young woman's life. Even as she graduated as valedictorian in high school and college, there were so many days when deep depression kept her in bed. - I've tried everything with depression and I've tried every medication out there, every treatment pretty much that's out there.

- [Julie] Jenna says this treatment is the difference maker. It's called transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS for short. - Typically, I see results within two weeks of treatments. - [Julie] It's non-invasive. The device delivers rapid pulsing magnetic fields that activate a group of nerve cells in the front of the brain.

(machine whirring) - [Jenna] That's just kind of a tapping on your head. - [Julie] Like a physical tapping? - [Jenna] It's magnetic coil is what it is. It really just, it doesn't hurt. There's no side effects. - [Julie] Dr. Selvaraj says in depressed patients, the happy part of the brain isn't as active. - We stimulate those neurons which are lazy, creating a magnetic field, and because of the magnetic stimulation, the neurons, they're no longer lazy.

- [Julie] Jenna says the treatment has been a gift. - Being able to get out of bed, being able to go see my friends and go to school like I am and go to work every day and actually enjoy it, I can't even describe it. - [Julie] As the pharmacy tech takes final classes to get into pharmacy school, there's new energy in her life.

- But I'm excited. I was always afraid to make big goals, I guess, and shoot for them. Just afraid of failure and not knowing what world was gonna bring. It's been amazing. - [Julie] And Dr. Selvaraj says outcomes like Jenna's happensin her office each day.

- I wanted patients to feel empowered hearing this, there is hope and there is treatment and they can have a normal life. - I think we can all agree that's some life-saving tech. After the break, we have more stories of how technology's being used to keep us all safe. Welcome back. Now we're talking about technology and safety. WMUR Reporter Scott Cook shows us how NASA scientists are building technology straight out of the movies, tech that has the potential to save the world. - So far, NASA's DART mission appears to be successful as they smashed a small spacecraft into an asteroid from 7 million miles away from Earth.

(scientists cheering) NASA astronomers celebrate after successfully crashing the DART spacecraft. DART stands for Double Asteroid Redirection Test. The goal of the $325 million test mission is to see if NASA can redirect an asteroid and defend Earth from any hypothetical future scenario. The target, a smaller asteroid named Dimorphis. - So what we hope is going to happen is the mission goes well and we all feel a little safer here on Earth.

- Three, two, one. - [Scott] The hope was not to destroy the asteroid, but instead nudge it slightly, slowing it down and redirecting it. - That would help us understand in the future if there were say a larger asteroid or an asteroid that that's just on a different orbit that looks like it could impact the earth, what is our capability to actually deflect that and keep it away from the earth? - [Scott] Scientists will now monitor photos that are being taken from another Italian spacecraft launched with DART and determine how much the asteroid moved. - So doing this kind of technology demonstration is really important for us developing that capability to avoid a kind of worst case scenario. - It's the first ever mission of its kind. And if proven to be effective, it could be a tool that one day saves humanity.

- That's some seriously important rocket science. Okay, moving on to something on a smaller scale, watch how one man's fear inspired the creation of a useful tool. Dave McDaniel at WESH has the scoop in Florida.

(gentle music) - Give people a peace of mind. We get that a lot. - [Dave] Jason Compton wanted to answer questions he had, questions which gave him anxiety. - Actually, the fear I had and we had a snake in our swimming pool.

My son found it. I was tired of not knowing what they were and I couldn't educate my children. - Around Central Florida, it's not all that uncommon to come across a snake of some sort, whether out for a walk or perhaps while we're working on our landscape, we want to know if it's harmed. - And I could tell it's a cotton mouth by that dark band that's right there.

- [Dave] Compton has developed an app called SnakeSnap. You take a photo, send it through the app, and get an answer to what type of snake and am I safe? - We've assembled a team of biologists, herpetologists, toxicologists, medical doctors. It comes into our email box actually and we have 15 people waiting, we can respond in seconds. - [Dave] He says at times the photos are not all that great. So it's an eyes-on review before answering. - We manually identify these currently because artificial intelligence with snakes is very, very difficult.

It's not a hundred percent accurate every time now. - [Dave] If a snake is venomous, Compton's team can send someone out to pick it up if you want, using your location, you can also get information of the type of snakes residing around you and what they eat. - [Jason] We also have every snake in the nation on our website. - [Dave] He now views snakes differently. - [Jason] I've seen them in a whole different light. They're beautiful creatures and I'm really learning how important they are.

- [Dave] And he hopes the app users do as well. - The fear kind of goes away and they realize, okay, we'll let that snake live out in the garden now, we won't harm it. - Now we're headed to Pennsylvania where one piece of technology reunites families. Lily Coleman with WTAE has the story.

(gentle music) - It's wearable technology and think of it as a really fancy game of hot and cold. So the closer my bracelet gets with the transmitter, the louder the chirp from the receiver. Listen closely. That beeping you hear is coming from this small transmitter about the size of a watch.

It's just one of the tools first responders in Allegheny County have when it comes to the search for a missing person. - But if we know that this person might have a special need or a tendency to wander off and we know somewhat of the area where we can start at, having that dedicated mile tracker can really put us in the right direction before we start going way beyond our reach. - [Lily] The program is called Project Lifesaver because, well, it does just that. - Every time that we've actually been boots on the ground for a full call out, we have brought somebody home every time. - [Lily] Sergeant Detective James Williams with the Munhall Police Department says it's designed for people with the propensity to wander.

Think of those with PTSD or dementia or maybe even kids with autism. - My son's autistic, and that's how we got this program started. If you care and love for them, this is one of those tools that is invaluable because we understand sometimes people fall asleep, sometimes you gotta go take a shower or throw a load of clothes in, and that's usually the time when somebody goes missing.

We're not there to judge anybody. We're there to help. - Police departments around the country are already using Project Lifesaver and it's helped locate more than 4,000 people. Next up, how some digging and technology helped bring an unidentified soldier home to rest. That's after the break.

Welcome back to our look at technology's positive impact. Up next, KMBC's Kris Ketz in Kansas City shows how dedication, investigation, and a bit of saliva unearthed family secrets and brought people together. The story begins during the attack on Pearl Harbor. (bombs exploding) - [Kris] Navy Fireman Third Class William L. Barnett of Fort Scott, Kansas was just 21 on that day in 1941. He was assigned to the battleship USS West Virginia when it too was attacked by enemy aircraft.

During efforts to salvage the ship, the remains of 66 crew members were found but could not be identified. Barnett was one of them. - That's the whole reason that we're here because those families deserve to have their loved one back. - [Kris] That's Sergeant First Class Sean Everette of the Defense POW MIA Accounting Agency and it's their job to identify the thousands of service members still unaccounted for no matter how long.

- We are literally working on hundreds between the two labs, hundreds, if not over a thousand, but definitely in the hundreds of cases at any one time. - [Kris] In Barnett's case, remains of the 66 missing sailors were interred as unknowns at the National Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu. From June to October 2017, 35 caskets were disinterred, its remains sent to a military laboratory.

Barnett's remains were found using dental records and DNA technology. - Those kinds of burials of unknowns, there can often be more than one person in a single casket. So they call it co-mingling.

And so there can be one, there could be two, there could be 20 different people buried in the same casket. - [Kris] And in Barnett's case, DNA technology could only be used if a family member submitted a sample first, which at times creates another concern. Those samples are used to identify missing service members and nowhere else. But all of this work means after all these years, William L. Barnett will finally come home.

- The sailor can finally rest in peace at home after all these years. Next up in Cincinnati, some seniors are having a ball trying out the latest gadgets. Meredith Stutz with WLWT as the rundown. (upbeat music) - Oh, here comes the giraffes on those stilts. Look at that. Is that amazing?

- [Meredith] Barb DeSalvo is blown away. The 79-year-old is an independent resident at Maple Knoll Village Retirement Community, but right now she's on a Broadway stage. - I've seen "Lion King" several times, but not this close up. I can see the costumes and how they work. It's just fascinating. - [Meredith] She's part of a new global study out of Stanford.

The university teamed up with AT&T and MyndVR, which makes these virtual reality headsets to study VR and aging populations. - Elephant, large elephant, - [Meredith] While study participants use it to experience shows like these or travel to far away places, the creators hope for something much deeper. - What we do envision virtual reality and especially the product that we're building at MyndVR, is to help with some of those side effects that do come along with dementia, that do come along with Parkinson's, that might come along with ocular degeneration. - Now talking logistics here. When I slip on the headset, I'm whisked away into the 360 degree world of Broadway.

But nearby, an aide is keeping an eye on not only my safety, but also what I'm watching on a nearby iPad. - It's just a hoot to do this, but besides that, there are a lot of people that are not as active and can't get out as easily or are isolated because of family or whatever. - And if we can give them an opportunity to experience new education, travel somewhere safely without ever leaving their home, this is something that I think is gonna be a huge benefit to our seniors. - [Meredith] Challenging stereotypes by setting the stage, - It just takes you to another world altogether, and that's so refreshing and and comforting I think. - Now when you think of farming, you don't usually think of the latest technology, but KCRA's Heather Waldman is in California showing us how farmers are getting tech savvy to keep up. (gentle music) - [Heather] For California farmers, everything has gotten more expensive, right down to some of growers' most essential resources, - Water and workforce are two things that that keep a farm going.

If we don't have water, nobody farms. - [Heather] And despite a good rainy season, Central Valley farms that rely on groundwater likely won't see stable drought relief for a pretty long time. That has the local ag industry looking for ways to use resources more efficiently by bringing in help from some pretty sophisticated science and technology. Targeted sprayers can save water and chemicals. - The sensor seeing the chlorophyll in the plant and therefore is targeting just the weed or the green plant itself.

- [Heather] GPS-guided equipment cuts down on labor costs and time, and powerful drones like this one can cut down on both. - The ability to buy less material, pay for less water, only spray exactly where you want to spray, only seed exactly where you want to seed, you're not wasting any money. - Some big machinery suppliers even have fully autonomous vehicles. Obviously there are plenty of really big high tech options for farmers, but with that tech comes a pretty big price tag that could eventually help to pay for itself in the long run. But I asked farmers how realistic is it to afford that in the short term? Jared Enos, who represents walnut growers around the state, says the bigger farms have a much better financial advantage. - And I think large farms that are huge, that a million dollar loss to them is nothing, those guys can adapt new technologies pretty easily.

- [Heather] But for smaller operations like Devon Bower's pistachio farm, selling out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars isn't usually an option. - That technology's awesome, but obtaining it or having it come in, if the price point is too high, you're really kind of limited on what you can do. - [Heather] A combination of cost and a lack of trust in using computers in a traditionally hands-on profession have made many farmers hesitant. - As with any new equipment, there's always gonna be resistance from the way it used to be. - [Heather] But demand for things like drone sprayers has picked up in the last few years in California, and that's for farms of all sizes. - California farmers are definitely at a tipping point, and I think the combination of workforce reduction with Covid and the water reduction through the latest drought, that's what tipped people over the edge.

- [Heather] And for those that can make the investment, vendors say the return can pay for itself within a couple of seasons. - Chemical savings,first time over can be as much as 50%. - Back when we were kids, they talked about robots doing the work for us one day. This is the robot that's doing the work for us. Autonomous farming is most definitely where the ag industry is headed. - When a Kansas City mom's vision began to fade, she was terrified, but a piece of technology helped bring new light to her life.

Over to KMBC's Emily Holwick. (gentle music) - [Emily] Ashley Mizell loves being a mom. - I really don't know what I would do if I didn't have those three boys pushing me every single day. - [Emily] But motherhood became more difficult when she started losing her vision two years ago. - It was just getting darker and darker in my eyes and I had no idea what was going on. - [Emily] She was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called sarcoidosis and is now legally blind.

It was a devastating blow to the mom of three who worked as a photographer. - [Ashley] I just didn't think I was gonna be a good enough mom anymore because I couldn't do what normal moms do, like drive their kids or read them a book or do anything. - [Emily] But hope came in the form of a small device.

- Weighs less than an ounce. - [Emily] The OrCam MyEye clips to Ashley's glasses. - What it does specifically, it has a camera, and the camera takes a picture and then speaks the visual information that it sees to the person wearing it. - [Emily] It recognizes faces like her children's and reads texts out loud. - [Device] What accomplishment are you most proud of? - [Emily] Ashley says it's been life changing. - [Ashley] I have more independence with this.

- [Emily] And it's helped her regain confidence as a mom. - Since I've had this, I've been able to do more for them. I can still do things. I can read a book. I'm being successful with remote learning with my kids.

- [Emily] Now she embraces motherhood in ways she couldn't see before losing her sight. - And I realize that it's not about seeing your kids, it's about finding different ways to still enjoy your kids and appreciate them. - Thank you so much for joining us on our technological journey today. I hope you feel as hopeful as I do about the future impact of tech.

I'm Aaron Baker. We'll see you next time.

2024-02-19 23:08

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