When Vincent was found abandoned as a kitten, he had no hind legs below what would be considered his shinbones. But thanks to the kindness of strangers, some titanium implants and the skills of a veterinary orthopedic surgeon, Vincent can now walk on all fours ... albeit not with the grace of a normal feline.
You might remember Derby, a dog who was born with a congenital deformity but last year received a 3D-printed prostheses that enabled him to run for the first time. Well, it's onward and upward for Derby and his carers, who have now crafted an upgraded set of custom prostheses allowing him to walk proudly with a straight back and even sit like a healthy dog.
Our sense of touch is made possible thanks to thousands of "mechanoreceptors," which are distributed throughout our skin. The more pressure that's applied to one of these sensors, the more electrical pulses it sends to the brain, thus increasing the tactile sensation that we experience. Led by Prof. Zhenan Bao, scientists at Stanford University have now created synthetic skin that contains electronic mechanoreceptors, which could give prosthetic limbs or robots a sense of touch.
Perhaps you sleep on a memory foam mattress. Well, in the future, a similar material could be used to create artificial body parts. Researchers at Cornell University recently used their new "elastomer foam" to build a functioning fluid pump that looks and works like a human heart.
Historically, those born without a hand or have one amputated can choose prosthetic devices that focus on realism and, for a steeper price, fine motor control. Open Bionics has unveiled several new designs for the youngest of prosthesis owners, and paired small size with kid appeal. Swerving away from realism, these prostheses are literally modeled after superheroes. Calling these the world's smallest bionic hands, Open Bionics argues that for kids it transforms being different into being cool.
Powered prosthetic legs are a bit like supercars – they're brilliant pieces of engineering, but they need regular expert care to keep them at peak performance. That can be an expensive and time-consuming necessity, so biomedical engineer s at North Carolina (NC) State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are developing an algorithm that automatically tunes artificial limbs while walking.
A mechanical hand utilizing DARPA-developed neural technologies has
become the first to allow a paralyzed patient to feel physical
sensations through a prosthesis. The 28 year-old test subject was able
to determine which mechanical finger was being touched whilst
blindfolded, with total accuracy.
Amputees in developing nations frequently can't afford the high-end
prostheses used by people in other parts of the world. That's why
Technological University of Mexico spin-off company Protesta is
developing a low-cost artificial arm made from lightweight polyethylene
terephthalate (PET) plastic. As an added bonus, the arm will alert the
user if it gets too hot.
Some higher-end prosthetic legs are equipped with things like gyroscopes
and accelerometers, in order to guide their knee joint through a more
natural bending motion. In developing nations, however, such expensive
prostheses usually aren't an option. That's why a scientist from MIT is
developing a knee that could allow inexpensive legs to perform like the
You might remember the Argus II implant from when it first gained market approval in the US back in 2013. The ambitious prosthesis is back, with researchers now looking to utilize the technology to treat patients with dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The effort forms part of a feasibility study, and early results are positive.