Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Rehabilitation

The insoles use vibrations to help their wearers detect tactile stimuli in the soles of th...

Falls are the leading cause of death by injury amongst seniors, and those falls are in turn typically caused by poor balance or an irregular gait. Taking things back yet another step, problems with balance and gait are often caused by diminished sensation in the feet. Now, however, a new study indicates that subtly-buzzing insoles may help seniors regain some of that lost sensation, and thus be less likely to fall down.  Read More

Researchers at Georgia Tech found that when assigned the task of teaching a robot to play ...

If Angry Birds is known for anything, it's an ability to keep youthful eyes glued to the screen for extended periods of time. But a new study conducted at Georgia Tech has shown that teaching a robot how to play the video game keeps kids slinging those wingless birds through the air for even longer, a finding that could help in the rehabilitation of cognitive and motor-skill disabilities.  Read More

The ReWalk motorized exoskeleton, which has been available in the UK since 2012, has now b...

Following multiple clinical studies, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the way for the ReWalk to be sold for personal use in the US. This makes the ReWalk the first motorized exoskeleton designed for people with lower body paralysis due to spinal cord injury to be cleared for personal use in the US.  Read More

Quadriplegic Ian Burkhart has been given the ability to move his fingers and hand with his...

In what is being touted as a world first, a quadriplegic man has been given the ability to move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to the implantation of an electronic device in his brain and muscle stimulation sleeve. Part of a neurostimulation system dubbed "Neurobridge," the technology essentially bypasses the damaged spinal cord and reconnects the brain directly to the muscles.  Read More

The setup incorporates eye-tracking glasses and a motion capture system

In order to better study hand/eye coordination, scientists need to simultaneously keep track of what a test subject is looking at, along with what their body is doing – and a new system is designed to help them do so. It combines one company's eye-tracking glasses with another's motion capture system.  Read More

The Vector Gait and Safety System uses a track-mounted robotic trolley to keep patients fr...

When a patient is undergoing rehab for a condition that compromises their gait or sense of balance, the process certainly isn't helped by the constant worry that they might fall. In fact, even the caregivers themselves can be injured when trying to move patients around. That's why California-based rehabilitative tech firm Bioness developed its Vector Gait and Safety System. It involves suspending the patient below a robotic trolley, that moves with them to hold them up.  Read More

A diagram of the experimental orthotic device

We've recently been hearing a lot about how exoskeletons can be used in rehabilitation, guiding patients' disabled limbs through a normal range of motion in order to develop muscle memory. The problem is, most exoskeletons are rigid, limiting their degrees of freedom to less than those of the body part they're moving. A team of scientists are looking at changing that, with a partial "soft exoskeleton" that replicates the body's own muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Read More

A test subject, wired up to the brain control interface

We've recently seen rehabilitative systems in which stroke victims use their thoughts either to move animated images of their paralyzed limbs, or to activate robotic devices that guide their limbs through the desired movements. Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, however, have just announced an alternative approach. Their device acts as an intermediary between the brain and a non-responsive hand, receiving signals from the one and transmitting them to the other.  Read More

From left: the 2011 NWR 002 prototype, the 2013 commercially-ready LIGHBOT and the prototy...

There is no better example of the rapid rate of product development than NSK's move into the area of robotics. At IREX 2011, NSK showed a prototype robot designed to safely guide the visually-impaired, with a footprint of 520 x 660 mm (20 x 26 in) and weight of 40 kg (88 lb). This week, just two years later, NSK showed two versions its Lighbot guide robot that represent a 75 percent weight reduction and an 83 percent footprint reduction. The ingenious right-or-left-hand-drive interface has been both replaced and improved, and all other aspects of the latest bots are equal to or better than the original.  Read More

Inventor Tomás Henriques' son Tristan, playing the Sonik Spring

Not long ago, Buffalo State University music professor Tomás Henriques set out to develop a digital accordion. While that in itself would have been newsworthy, what he ended up creating could ultimately have a lot more significance. Known as the Sonik Spring, Henriques’ device may find use not only in the field of music, but also as a means of physical rehabilitation.  Read More

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