Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Prosthesis

Film-maker Rob Spence has announced that his 'Camera Eye' is now fully functioning (Image:...

When he was nine years old, Toronto film-maker Rob Spence received a severe injury to his right eye in a shotgun accident. After a period of hiding the aftermath under an eyepatch, six years ago he had the eye replaced with a prosthesis. Being a visual artist, however, he had an idea - instead of just an unseeing artificial eye, he wanted one that could capture images of what he was looking at, and wirelessly transmit them to an external recording device. He himself wouldn't be able to see through the eye, but the footage obtained from it could take film-making to new levels. It's been a few years since Spence began his Eyeborg Project, but he has just announced that the eye is now functioning.  Read More

Ortho-Tag is a system in which information regarding orthopedic implants is stored on a ch...

Over the years, New Jersey orthopedic surgeon Lee Berger became frustrated with the lack of information that patients had on prosthetic devices that had been implanted within their own knees, hips, feet, or other parts of their skeleton. In order to gather data such as the size, model, age, serial numbers or manufacturers of these implants, either X-rays or extensive paper trail hunts were required. His new product, the Ortho-Tag, is designed to address this problem. All of the vital data regarding an implant could be obtained by placing a probe against the patient's skin, plus information on the health of the surrounding body tissue would be provided.  Read More

The prosthesis that is implanted in and on the eye to give functional vision to the blind

The Argus II Retinal Implant from California-based company Second Sight has become the first retinal prosthesis for treatment of the blind approved for sale in Europe. The approval follows a successful clinical trial that ran for almost four years and saw more than 30 patients around the world using the device at home as they went about their daily lives. While the system isn’t able to restore normal vision, the majority of trial subjects gained the ability to perceive colors, recognize large letters and locate objects, while two were even able to read short sentences.  Read More

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a robot input device that uses inertial sensors to d...

Having two arms doesn't make you a juggler. The same principle applies in robotics where even the most dextrous of bots must be programmed to move according to a particular task. Input systems based on laser tracking are used in industrial robotics to achieve this, but Fraunhofer researchers are looking to streamline the process significantly with a device that uses inertial sensors to detect movements in free space. In other words, you can teach a robot new tricks just by showing it the required action.  Read More

Michal Prywata and Thiago Caires with their AMO Arm(All photos courtesy Ryerson University...

Two undergraduate students from Toronto’s Ryerson University have created a prosthetic arm that is controlled by its wearer’s brain signals, and powered by compressed air. Not only is the Artificial Muscle-Operated (AMO) Arm said to offer a greater range of movement than traditional prostheses, but it also doesn’t require the amputee to undergo invasive surgery, is easy to learn to use, and it is relatively inexpensive to make.  Read More

The new development from Jena provides the upper arm with sensory information which is the...

Phantom limb pain, where a person feels pain in an absent limb or a portion of a limb, is a very real phenomenon, most commonly experienced after amputation of an arm or leg. Chronic phantom pain is believed to affect around 10-45% of amputees. It is highly therapy resistant and can last for years, or even a lifetime, despite high dosages of painkillers that put patients at risk of addiction. However, hope may be on the horizon thanks to a modified hand prosthesis which enables feedback between the artificial hand and the brain.  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

Synthetic cornea offers hope to thousands

Donor corneas are extremely rare, but for 40,000 people in Europe corneal transplantation from donors offer the only hope of addressing blindness in one or both eyes. That was, until Dr. Joachim Storsberg of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm created the first artificial cornea.  Read More

Bruce Willis in the movie 'Surrogates'. Art imitating life, or vice versa?

Gizmag recently took part in a virtual round table with futurist Dr James Canton and prosthetics expert Randall Alley to look at the role robots - particularly surrogate robots - will play in mankind’s future. The fascinating discussion ranged from the technology itself through to security issues and ethics surrounding the implementation of surrogate robots in our future societies. So when will you be able to send your robotic surrogate-self to the shop for a loaf of bread while you relax in front of the TV?  Read More

The energy-recycling foot enhances the power of ankle push-off (Image: Steve Collins)

Most of us take it for granted, but walking isn't as simple as it looks. With the natural human gait the ankle exerts force to push off the ground. A typical prosthesis doesn’t reproduce the force exerted by a living ankle, resulting in amputees spending much more energy in comparison to walking naturally. A new prototype artificial foot recycles energy that is otherwise wasted in between steps to significantly cut the energy spent per step, making it easier for amputees to walk.  Read More

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