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Disability

Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration granted clearance to a new device that could be of considerable aid to stroke victims or people with partial spinal cord injuries. Created by Dr. Paul Cordo of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in collaboration with OHSU spinoff company AMES, the "AMES device" reportedly helps the brain get paralyzed muscles moving again. Read More
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
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
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
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

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

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
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
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
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
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