Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Disability

Banerji Subhasis (left) and Dr. John Heng, testing the SynPhNe system

People recovering from strokes can often find rehabilitation very frustrating. They try to move their hand in a certain way, for instance, but it just won’t do it – why not? That’s where a new system known as the Synergistic Physio-Neuro Platform (SynPhNe) comes into the picture. It guides patients through exercises, monitors their performance, and lets them know why they’re unable to perform certain tasks. They can then use that knowledge to self-correct their actions, instead of just getting exasperated.  Read More

The Mindwalker project has received a grant of EUR 2.75 million (roughly US$3.5 million) a...

Each year, thousands of people worldwide experience full or partial paralysis as a result of spinal cord injury. Though there’s currently no medical cure for such injuries, new EU-funded research poses the potential to give patients the ability to walk again, with the aid of a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton dubbed “Mindwalker.”  Read More

MidiWing is a digital music system developed to give everyone the chance to create music, ...

Inspired by the many people he encountered at his mother's daycare center for severely disabled children when he was a youngster himself, multi-instrumentalist Dan Daily began working on a digital music system that anyone can play, regardless of ability or physical capability. Several prototypes later, along with some vital technical input from Lockhead Martin subsidiary Sandia National Laboratories, and MidiWing 1 is ready for release.  Read More

A prototype tongue-buzzing PoNS device

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have created a device known as a PoNS, that shows promise for the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, strokes, or the effects of diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. Researchers at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command are now conducting a study on the device, which works by stimulating the patient’s tongue.  Read More

Scientists are using new technology to develop ski sledges optimized for each individual a...

Cross-country and biathlon skiers competing in the 2014 Winter Paralympics may have an advantage over skiers who have competed in previous games. This time around, some of them might be using custom-optimized ski sledges, made by a consortium including Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials.  Read More

The Walkbot can be used to rehabilitate patients recovering from stroke, spinal cord injur...

After suffering a stroke or spinal cord injury, a patient regaining their ability to walk typically requires three to five physical therapists supporting them while physically moving their limbs. This is not only physically exhausting, but leaves therapists at risk of personal injury. Now, the leading health care facilities in Korea have adopted a rehab robot that only requires one therapist – the Walkbot combines an adjustable lower-body robotic exoskeleton that moves a patient's legs in time with a treadmill.  Read More

The i-Transport robotic vehicle lets the wheelchair-bound reach a standing position

Constantly being talked down to is bad enough, but wheelchair users also have to deal with the problem of accessing items that are often located out of their reach. A research team from Taiwan’s National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) has developed the “i-Transport” robotic vehicle that is designed to get wheelchair users on their feet so they can carry out conversations eye to eye and grasp hard-to-reach items.  Read More

Quadriplegic Jan Scheuermann prepares to take a bite out of a chocolate bar she is guiding...

Earlier this year, a 58 year-old woman who had lost the use of her limbs was successfully able to drink a cup of coffee by herself using a robotic arm controlled by her thoughts via a brain computer interface (BCI). Now, in a separate study, another woman with longstanding quadriplegia has been able to feed herself a chocolate bar using a mind-controlled, human-like robot arm offering what researchers claim is a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb  Read More

Ayanna Howard (right) and Hae Won Park (left) model the Access4Kids device that allows the...

Even those who consider themselves particularly coordinated will no doubt have been guilty of a misplaced tap here or a badly timed swipe there when using touchscreen devices. But spare a thought for children with fine motor impairments who are essentially excluded from the touchscreen device world and all its educational, entertainment and social benefits. A new device called Access4Kids aims to bring this world within reach of such users.  Read More

Chevy and Michigan Technological University's new cycle (Photo: General Motors)

Chevrolet and Michigan Technological University have teamed up to build a new tricycle for wounded veterans. This new cycle is built to be race-ready, so users are still able to compete in marathons and other distance races in the most efficient way possible.  Read More

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