Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Health and Wellbeing

The prototype blood pressure-moderating cuff

High blood pressure can be a very serious condition, and is usually controlled via medication along with lifestyle changes. For approximately 35 percent of patients, however, that medication doesn't work in the long run. That's why a team of researchers from Germany's University of Freiburg are developing an implantable electronic cuff, that may one day control peoples' blood pressure via electrical pulses within the neck.  Read More

The FDA has given approval for commercial marketing of the DEKA Arm

Prosthetics have come a long way in recent years, with many artificial limbs incorporating advanced robotic and cybernetic systems that include everything up to and including mind control. Unfortunately, for all these advances, the lack of prosthetics capable of complex motor control means that most users see them as tools rather than replacement limbs. However, that may be changing as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced approval for marketing of the DEKA Arm system, the first prosthetic arm set to hit the market that translates signals from a patient’s muscles to carry out complex tasks.  Read More

The PRIORI app looks for telltale changes in the speaker's speech patterns (Photo: Shutter...

People afflicted with bipolar disorder must live with the fact that at any moment, they could launch into a major depressive or manic mental state. These mood swings can be so severe that dangerous, erratic behavior including suicide attempts can result. Researchers at the University of Michigan, however, are developing something that could prove to be very helpful. It's an Android app that listens to a patient's phone conversations, and detects the signs of oncoming mood swings in their voice.  Read More

Night Shift is for sleep apneans and snorers

Sleep apnea – it’s noisy, unhealthy and dangerous, and it affects up to 24 percent of men 9 percent of women in the US. Night Shift is a new device designed to help people with sleep apnea and snoring issues. These problems are aggravated by sleeping on the back, so the device, which is worn at the back of the neck, vibrates and prompts wearers to move position.  Read More

Ultraviolet light causes a chemical reaction in the Smartsun wristband, alerting the weare...

Balancing a healthy amount of time in the sun while avoiding overexposure to its harmful UV rays can be a a difficult task. Indeed, the challenge of finding this happy medium has produced a bevy of of UV-detecting wristbands, such as the UVeBand and the UVA+Sunfriend. Smartsun is the latest to join the ranks of such devices, alerting users to dangerous levels of UV exposure by changing color from yellow to pink when it's time to head indoors.  Read More

Researchers at Australia's CSIRO have developed a 3D-printable mouthpiece that enables cle...

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from various forms of sleep apnea, a condition where the throat passage is blocked during sleep. Further to an immediate inability to breathe, if left untreated the condition can lead to more serious ailments, such as heart problems, stroke and diabetes. Current solutions can be both costly and uncomfortable, but researchers from Australia's CSIRO have developed a 3D-printed mouthpiece that can be personalized for each patient, potentially adding a more practical alternative to the mix.  Read More

One of the vibrating capsules, with a quarter for scale (Photo: Digestive Disease Week)

According to Dr. Yishai Ron, a researcher at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, nearly half of the people who take medication for chronic constipation are unsatisfied with the results. That dissatisfaction can stem from unwanted side effects, concerns over the long-term safety of the medication, or "the fact that it simply doesn’t work." That's why he and his colleagues have created an oral capsule that relieves constipation by vibrating its way along the intestinal tract.  Read More

A new adhesive gel could keep injured soldiers from losing their vision (Photo: Aiding our...

When soldiers or other people sustain eye injuries, retinal detachment and vision loss can result if the eye's vitreous gel isn't kept from leaking out. Given that Band-Aids can't be placed directly on the eyeball, however, a team of scientists from the University of Southern California has created an alternative – reversible eye glue.  Read More

Antibacterial fabric developed at RMIT kills E. coli (pictured) and other infectious bacte...

With a well established ability to kill off bacteria, silver has come to play a significant role in the development of antimicrobial materials. Indeed, we've seen it used in keyboards, built into water filtration systems and deployed in washing machines as a means of fending off germs. The latest effort to harness the bacteria-fighting qualities of silver comes from researchers at Australia's RMIT University working with scientists from the CSIRO, who have developed an antibacterial fabric capable of killing off E. coli and other infectious bacteria within 10 minutes of contact.  Read More

The Robo-Washer in action

Remember how much fun it was to use the Dyson Airblade the first time you saw one? The Robo-Washer steps up the game by doing the washing part for you as well. 360-degree jets of high pressure soapy water are followed by a blast of drying air to give you an all-in-one touchless hand cleaning station with no mess … Even if the prototype does look a bit like a doggy bowl on an apple crate.  Read More

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