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University of Pittsburgh

— Robotics

Quadriplegic successfully uses mind-controlled robotic arm

By - December 18, 2014 3 Pictures
In 2012, a quadriplegic woman managed to move a robotic arm, using only her thoughts, to a level of proficiency that allowed her to eat a chocolate bar using said arm. The University of Pittsburgh team behind the study didn't stop there, though. By improving the technology in the arm and working more closely with test subject Jan Scheuermann, they have since enabled her to replace the simple pincer grip of before with four new hand shapes – fingers spread, pinch, scoop, and thumb up – that allow for more complicated object manipulation. Read More
— Medical

Corneas regrown using human stem cells

By - July 4, 2014 2 Pictures
Medical researchers working with human stem cells have discovered a way to improve regrowth of corneal tissue in the human eye. Using a molecule known as ABCB5 to act as an identifying marker for rare limbal stem cells, the researchers were able to use antibodies to detect ABCB5 on stem cells in tissue from donated human eyes and use them to regrow anatomically correct, fully functional human corneas in mice. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Bioengineered mouse heart gets a beat using human cells

By - August 15, 2013 1 Picture
Heart transplants have given new life to thousands, but are only an unfulfilled hope to thousands more due to a shortage of donor organs. With the goal of meeting this shortfall, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have bioengineered a mouse heart in the lab that beats on its own. The mouse heart had its cells replaced with human cells, offering the potential of growing custom replacement hearts that wouldn't be rejected by the recipient. Read More
— Robotics

Quadriplegic woman gets chocolate fix using thought-controlled robotic arm

By - December 18, 2012 6 Pictures
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
— Science

Oscillating gels may one day grant robots a sense of touch

By - April 2, 2012 1 Picture
Researchers at MIT and the University of Pittsburgh have successfully resuscitated non-oscillating Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) gel by exerting a mechanical stimulus: a process akin to the resuscitation of a human heart. By exhibiting a chemical response to a mechanical stimulus (a rare feat for non-living matter), it's claimed the material could lead to the development of artificial skin that would enable robots to feel. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

eButton tracks your diet and level of activity

By - November 15, 2011 2 Pictures
Are you trying to lose weight, but don't like keeping track of your food intake? Well, there may or may not be an app for that, but there is a button. An eButton, to be precise. That's the name of a wearable device developed at the University of Pittsburgh, that incorporates a camera, accelerometer, GPS, and other sensors. These all work together to maintain a profile of not only what the user is eating, but also how much exercise they're getting, how much time they spend sitting around, and other factors that can affect weight gain. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Wireless power for heart implants could reduce infections, increase mobility

By - July 14, 2011 2 Pictures
While implantable heart pumps may buy some time for people waiting to undergo heart transplants, such implants have at least one serious drawback – because they receive their power from an external source, a power cord must protrude through the skin of the patient’s belly. About 40 percent of patients experience infections of that opening, which often require rehospitalization, and in extreme cases can even cause death. The presence of that cord also makes it impossible for patients to swim or take baths. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center are attempting to put an end to the troublesome cords, however, by developing a system that wirelessly transmits power to heart pumps. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Wireless chips and probes could monitor orthopedic implants

By - June 13, 2011 1 Picture
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

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