New plastic scaffolds attached to prosthetic devices could enable nerves to feel and control artificial limbs, using electrical signals to bring back real sensations. The research could eventually realize the dream of connecting artificial body extensions to the living nervous system.
A robotic hand made entirely of Legos is one of the most realistic robo-hands we have seen, matching the entire range of motion of a real one. It moves pretty slowly, but that's OK — slow and steady wins the race, and pours the drink without splashing.
The holy grail of prosthetics research is and has been a kind of “Luke Skywalker hand” interface--prosthetics that respond to stimulus from the brain and function just as the original appendage it is replacing. But ideally the prosthetic wouldn’t just respond to stimulus from the brain--it would also provide sensory stimulus to the brain. It would have a sense of touch. And in a paper published today in Nature, we see the groundwork for just such a breed of prostheses.
Of all our human organs, skin is arguably one of the most abused — yet it’s also arguably the most reliable. It protects everything inside us, helping us avoid harm by sensing obstacles in our way, making sure we stay hydrated, and ensuring we keep ourselves at the right temperature. It constantly replenishes itself, sloughing off former layers that we’ve either burned or dried out or scraped or ignored, while new ones grow in their places.
Click here for a photo gallery of future skin technology for humans and machines.
With some help from DARPA, researchers at Southern Methodist University may soon establish a lightning-fast two-way fiber optic connection between the brain and prosthetic limbs. Working with $5.6 million in DARPA funding, the Neurophotonics Research Center has a singular goal: build a biocompatible fiber optic sensor scaled down to carry individual nerve signals to and from the brain.
Once again, Popular Science celebrates the eternal human urge to go bigger! Better! Stronger! Meet three innovations with the need to exceed.
Bigger: A Park in the Sky
When architect Moshe Safdie was designing a hotel in Singapore, he ran out of ground space for a planned park. But there was plenty of air, so he drew up the three-acre garden connecting the 57th story of the hotel's three towers. He wasn't finished, though. Then he built the crowning piece of the Sky Park: an observation deck extending 218 feet from the hotel's roof—the world's largest cantilever.
Much of the debate on the place of advanced prostheses for the disabled in competitive sports often downplays arguably the most important perspective: that of the athletes who couldn't compete without them. In light of the recent MIT research project that found prosthetic limbs offering no advantage over natural legs, sprinter and double Cheetah leg user Aimee Mullins has some even more thought-provoking (and first-hand) analysis of the issue.
For humans, getting fitted with a prosthetic limb is now a relatively simple process. But how do you fit and prepare a three ton, 48-year old elephant for a prosthetic leg? With three years of practice and therapy, of course.
Motola the elephant had her leg shredded when she walked over a landmine in Thailand 10 years ago. The damage was so bad they had to remove the leg completely. Her operation also required enough anesthetic to put 70 people into a deep sleep.
The foot-controlled "Luke" prosthetic arm may not win any lightsaber fights, but it could soon lend a helping hand to wounded warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A three-year study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is slated to provide engineering feedback before widespread distribution to veterans, according to an announcement last week.
Prosthetic arms improve; narwhal tusks are as neat as ever
By M. FarbmanPosted 02.11.2009 at 11:01 am 0 Comments
This video of narwhals migrating through channels in the Arctic ice does not need the dramatic music to be astounding. These are some very elegant creatures.
Also in today's links: watching for post-partum psychosis, picking apart more fossilized dung, and predicting Amazonian fires.