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Health and Wellbeing

Kolibree is fitted with an accelerometer, gyroscope and a magnetometer to encourage good b...

Along with some rather unnerving, spinning pieces of metal, our dentists are always drilling into us the importance of a proper brushing technique. Some of us, however, would be guilty of cutting a corner or two in our time, perhaps before rushing out the door in the morning or after dozing off on the couch at night. Aiming to make sure we always uphold the gold standard of oral hygiene is Kolibree, a French start-up whose smart toothbrush is designed to track your brushing efforts to make sure you're hitting those harder to reach places.  Read More

A hard reset button lives on its base if the 'life time' counter begins to represent a num...

The Bevometer, an adaptation of the traditional koozie (aka stubby holder or coldy-holdy), is designed to take the guesswork out of consumption by keeping count each time you exchange a full drink for an empty.  Read More

safe@home detects seniors' falls, and contacts people who can help (Photo: Shutterstock)

For seniors in general, falls can result result in broken hips or other serious injuries. For seniors living alone, however, there's also a good chance that they could end up lying on the floor for up to several hours before anyone else knows what's happened. User-triggered radio devices such as Life Alert are helpful up to a point, although they're not much good if the user isn't carrying them at the time, or if they get knocked unconscious. That's why a group of German companies are developing the automatic safe@home system.  Read More

The hard-to-miss external components of a traditional cochlear implant (Photo: Shutterstoc...

Thanks to the development of cochlear implants, many people who would otherwise be quite deaf are able to regain a limited sense of hearing. Unfortunately, the implants also incorporate external components that can get in the user's way, and that look ... well, that look like the user has something hooked up to their ear. Now, however, researchers at MIT, Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have developed a chip that could lead to cochlear implants that are entirely implanted.  Read More

Dennis Aabo Sørensen, using his sensory-enabled prosthesis

A man who lost his left hand in an accident nine years ago has had his sense of touch restored using a prosthetic hand surgically wired to nerves in his upper arm. During the trial Dennis Aabo Sørensen was able to grasp objects, detect the strength of grip, distinguish shape and identify objects by touch while blindfolded. The work was carried out by scientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA).  Read More

Replenishing the insulin-secreting beta cells found in the pancreas could lead to a more p...

Type 1 diabetics suffer from a lack of beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for insulin production. Although glucose monitoring and insulin injections allows the disease to be managed, finding a way to replenish these beta cells would offer a more permanent solution. Scientists at Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco have provided hope for just such a treatment by developing a technique to reprogram skin cells into insulin-producing beta cells.  Read More

The PillCam Colon has been approved for us in the US by the FDA

Colonoscopies can be an uncomfortable procedure for patients who may already be worried about what results will be found. When the results are inconclusive, a patient's options can be limited, causing further distress. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now approved a device for use after an incomplete procedure that is minimally invasive and can achieve similar imaging results to a colonoscopy. PillCam Colon is a pill-sized camera that is swallowed and passes through a patient's gastrointestinal tract.  Read More

A new technique for producing large amounts of hair-follicle-generating stem cells has imp...

As one of the follically-challenged, any new breakthroughs in the area of hair regeneration will generally get my attention. When stem cells first started to gain widespread media attention I, no doubt like many others, thought a full head of hair was just around the corner. But despite numerous developments, years later my dome is still of the chrome variety. Providing the latest cause for cautious optimism, researchers have now developed a way to generate a large number number of hair-follicle-generating stem cells from adult cells.  Read More

A new study carried out at Johns Hopkins University suggests that a moderate dose of caffe...

Caffeine is one the world’s favorite productivity fuels and in many countries people choose a caffeinated drink, mainly coffee, to ignite the day. Although some people rightly worry about over-consuming the stuff, a new study suggests that a moderate daily dosage may enhance our memory.  Read More

A diagram of the experimental orthotic device

We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Read More

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