Though artificial-joint tech is pretty advanced these days, with titanium hips and knees built to last a decade or more, they won't last forever -- and aging patients will have to go back under the knife for upgrades. Naturally re-growing their own bones would be a nice alternative.
For the first time, researchers have proven this can work, by stimulating the body's own stem cells to re-grow joint tissue around an implantable scaffold.
Measuring sensors and actuators can turn any old hip implant into a smart network that helps patients avoid implant problems and may even actively regenerate bone. This "smart hip" system has already been demonstrated successfully on animals.
A current prototype allows physicians to activate the "smart hip" via wireless Bluetooth and a computer. The network of actuators which help stimulate bone growth at the implant's surface has also undergone tests in cell studies as well as animals.
By Bob Ivry
Posted 12.01.2004 at 3:00 pm 0 Comments
For some of the 200,000 people each year who suffer pain severe enough to require lower-back surgery, a new solution has arrived. The Charit Artificial Disc is expected to receive FDA approval for degenerative disc disease by the end of 2004, making it the only artificial spinal disc available in the U.S. “This is the first major breakthrough in back surgery since the 1940s,” says orthopedic surgeon Richard Guyer of the Texas Back Institute in Plano.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.