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Bionic

The space age looking AirPenguins

The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.  Read More

Ossur's second generation POWER KNEE

Earlier this week we looked at developments in low-cost prosthetics, but at the other end of the spectrum, advanced prosthetic devices like Ossur's recently announced second generation POWER KNEE are opening up new frontiers in the field. As the world’s first motor-powered artificially intelligent prosthesis for above the knee amputees, the POWER KNEE is designed to enable daily activities without having to think about movement. Something most of us take for granted.  Read More

The Eyeborg Project: the prosthetic eye and camera

After years of wearing a patch to hide his disfigured right eye, damaged as a child in a shooting accident, Canadian filmmaker Rob Spence was forced eventually to replace the eye with a prosthetic one. The camera on Spence’s cell phone, though, gave him a rather novel idea. What if he could build a miniature, wireless video camera into his prosthetic eye? What followed has become the Eyeborg Project, the progress of which can be now followed online.  Read More

Bionic Eye - Argus II implant

For those suffering from degenerative eye diseases, abilities which most of us take for granted like following white lines on roads and sorting socks can have a huge impact on quality of life. "Bionic-eye" technologies that can artificially restore sight are creeping closer to reality and now one of the most promising systems to grace our pages - the Argus II Retinal Implant - is beginning to reap rewards in the real world with positive outcomes reported in the preliminary results of the device's feasibility study and personal stories beginning to emerge of the difference this technology can make to peoples lives.  Read More

“Gordon” can use its biological brain to navigate around a room, and scientists hope that ...

The University of Reading has designed a robot that is controlled by 300,000 cultured rat neurons. The team anticipates that the behavior of the rat neurons will provide insight into how brains store data, which could lead to a better understanding of disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and strokes.  Read More

Raytheon Sarcos Exoskeleton
 Photo: Raytheon Company

May 6, 2008 The advent of the robotic age is upon us and we can expect a huge transformation in the coming decade as robots of all shapes and sizes make their presence felt in many aspects of our lives. But robots wont just stand by our side as assistants, we'll actually climb aboard and wear them like a shell or suit of armor. This type of robot - known as an exoskeleton - is being developed in various guises that deliver extraordinary strength and endurance to the wearer and have the potential to impact on military, medical, industrial and transport arenas - anywhere that personal mobility, agility and strength is required. Raytheon's progress in the field is making headline news this week thanks in part to an intriguing article appearing in the May issue of Popular Science which makes the link between the company's ongoing research for the U.S. military and the release of the much hyped superhero flick Ironman(R).  Read More

Argus II retinal implant

February 20, 2008 It has to be among the most powerful examples of the miraculous potential of modern science and technology - restoring sight to the blind. Following approval from the US FDA last year, Second Sight Medical Products Inc has now announced that enrollment is complete for the first phase of clinical trials on a system that restores a basic level of sight to sufferers of retinal eye diseases. Enrollment at key European sites also underway. Ten subjects have been recruited for the Phase I trial of the second-generation electronic retinal implant known as The Argus II, which is capable of restoring rudimentary vision using an external camera and transmitter mounted in eyeglasses linked to a tiny array of 60 electrodes that are attached to the retina.  Read More

iLimb: fully articulating bionic hand

January 30, 2008 Touch Bionics has announced that its i-LIMB - the world’s first commercially available bionic hand - is expected to achieve the milestone of 100 patient fittings by the end of February this year, having already reached more than 70 people worldwide since its July 2007 launch.  Read More

Electronic Contact Lens promises bionic capabilities for everyone

It’s not often in this era of rampant technological innovation that a fundamentally new concept surfaces with groundbreaking societal implications, but that was the case this week with the news that engineers at the University of Washington (UW) have used microscopic scale manufacturing techniques to combine a flexible contact lens with an imprinted electronic circuit and lights. Ultimately, such devices promise the bionic capabilities we became familiar with in the Terminator movies and Bionic Man TV series: optical zoom eyesight, recording what we see (quite literally), effectively invisible heads-up high resolution computer displays, genuine GPS-based augmented reality and a complete real-time health monitoring system with visible read outs. Thanks to the team headed by UW Electrical Engineering Professor Babak Parviz, these concepts are now not just viable, but likely in the foreseeable future. Gizmag spoke with Parviz about the project …  Read More

The iLimb hand, from Touch Bionics, with natural skin-look cosmesis. Can you tell which is...

August 6, 2007 The human hand is a magnificent triumph of evolution, combining a complex structure with incredible levels of facility and feedback to enable a stunning range of movements and uses. Its flexibility and usefulness also makes it a debilitating body part to lose and a huge challenge for those involved in the development of bionic limb replacements. The latest innovation from Touch Bionics represents a major step forward in bionic hand development: with four smart motorized fingers and its unique multi-position motorized thumb, all operating from myoelectrically-detected nerve endings in the stump, the iLimb hand opens up a range of grips and fine motor abilities that prosthetic hands have never had before, like using a key in a lock, or one-fingered typing on a keyboard. Another important advance is the simple yet very effective feedback sensors in the fingers which control grip pressure to hold fragile items like styrofoam cups without dropping or crushing them. What's more, patients can choose between the iLimb hand's funky robotic look or another world first - an incredibly realistic skin that you can pull on to make it look almost identical to a real hand.  Read More

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