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Prosthetics

— Robotics

Electronic skin could give prostheses and robots a sense of touch

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.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Open Bionics adds superhero appeal to prostheses for kids

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.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Software automatically tunes powered prostheses to the user

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.

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— Health & Wellbeing

Low-cost prosthetic knee could let the impoverished walk normally

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 fancy ones.

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