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Bionic

Zac Vawter prepares for 'SkyRise Chicago', a fundraiser for the Rehabilitation Institute o...

Despite losing most of his right leg in a motorcycle accident, Zac Vawter (31) intends to climb all 103 flights of stairs at Chicago's Willis Tower this Sunday. He's been helping researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) test a cutting-edge bionic leg that is controlled by his own nerve impulses. He can walk, kick a ball, and climb stairs by simply thinking of what he wants his leg to do.  Read More

Two iterations of the Vanderbilt intelligent prosthetic leg

It was not a good day for 16 year old Craig Hutto. On June 27, 2005, wading in crystal clear waters off a near-deserted beach 50 miles south of Panama City, Craig was attacked by an 8-foot bull shark and lost his right leg from above the knee. Today Hutto is a 6-foot 4-inch 23 year old studying Nursing at Middle Tennessee State. Fortunately for him, Nashville is also the home of Vanderbilt University where its Center for Intelligent Mechatronics has for seven years been developing an advanced prosthetic limb. They also happened to need a Lab Assistant to help them test it.  Read More

Dressed in an outfit featuring LED lights, 17 individual lasers, and ballerina point shoes...

Zhantra Entertainment has recently merged dance and technology to create a captivating spectacle. Resembling characters from sci-fi films such as Blade Runner and Minority Report, dancer Milena looks like she has stepped straight out of a cyberpunk future world. Dressed in an outfit custom-designed by Zhantra’s in-house designer, Gustavo, featuring LED lights, 17 individual lasers, and ballerina point shoes, the Bionic Ballerina displays moves that seem to defy the laws of human flexibility.  Read More

The ReWalk robotic exoskeleton is designed to get paraplegics out of their wheelchairs

The wheel may be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life for the wheelchair-bound that much of the modern world is built for the upright – from deli counter-tops and store shelves to stairs and escalators. When Israeli entrepreneur Amit Goffer was left paralyzed after a car accident in 1997 he set about creating “robotic trousers” to replace a wheelchair. The fruits of his labor are now set to help others with his ReWalk robotic exoskelton set to go on sale from the start of 2011.  Read More

Bionic Handling Assistant is inspired by the elephants trunk (Image: Festo)

Festo, the automation company that designed the bionic penguin and its robotic stablemates – AirRay, AquaRay, AirJelly and AquaJelly – has found another natural model in its latest application of biomimicry – the elephant's trunk.  Read More

Panasonic's Power Loader Light exoskeleton

We've covered a number of amazing exoskeletons here on Gizmag, ranging from the solutions for paraplegics – see REX Bionics' and Berkley Bionics' exoskeletons – to the downright wacky Kid Walker mecha for children. Last year we saw Activelink's Power Loader, an exoskeleton that takes its name from the suit of the same name in James Cameron's Aliens. The company, a subsidiary of Panasonic, has now come out with a lightweight version, appropriately named the Power Loader Light.  Read More

Berkeley Bionics' eLEGS exoskeleton

At a press conference held this morning in San Francisco, California’s Berkeley Bionics unveiled its eLEGS exoskeleton. The computer-controlled device is designed to be worn by paraplegics, providing the power and support to get them out of their wheelchairs, into a standing posture, and walking – albeit with the aid of crutches. The two formerly wheelchair-bound “test pilots” in attendance did indeed use eLEGS to walk across the stage, in a slow-but-steady gait similar to that of full-time crutch-users.  Read More

Dattoos would be printed onto the user's skin, and would identify the user via their DNA

Five years ago, Frog Design founder Hartmut Esslinger envisioned a technology that “could influence notions of community, identity, and connectivity with minimal impact on the physical environment.” Using an online design portal, users would select and try out a customized electronic processing device that they would then print onto their own skin. The DNA Tattoo, or Dattoo, could include printable input/output tools such as a camera, microphone, or laser-loudspeaker - it would be up to the user, as would the Dattoo’s aesthetics. Most intriguingly, it would capture its wearer’s DNA, to ensure an intimate user/machine relationship.  Read More

The Amadeo Robotic Hand and Tibion Robotic Leg are helping to rehabilitate stroke victims

It's a long time since The Six Million Dollar Man graced our TV screens; indeed, many Gizmag readers may be too young to have heard of Steve Austin, the Bionic Man. Bionics and robotics have come a long way in the past few years, and while we're not yet creating bionic men and women, we can at least claim to make people "better, stronger, and faster." A robotic hand and bionic leg undergoing clinical trials at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center are two promising neurorehabilitation devices that are helping stroke survivors regain movement in affected limbs by rewiring neural pathways.  Read More

The bebionic myo-electric hand

Luke Skywalker/Steve Austin-like bionic hands might seem like something straight out of... well, science fiction, but they’re most definitely not. There are now actually several companies competing to sell hands that can perform complex, independent-fingered tasks, and that can even return a sense of touch to the amputee user. In the recent past, we’ve told you about several of these devices, including the iLimb, the SmartHand, and the CYBERHAND. Recently, British company RSLSteeper officially threw its hat (or glove?) into the ring, with the unveiling of its bebionic myo-electric hand.  Read More

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