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University of Twente


— Health & Wellbeing

A-Gear exoskeletons keep users' arms useful

Affecting approximately 1 in 5,000 boys, Duchenne muscular dystrophy causes the victim's muscles to shrink throughout their lifetime, often to the point that the arms and legs can't be used at all. That's why the european Stichting Flextension (Flextension Foundation) started up the A-Gear project four years ago. The multi-partner effort is designing two arm-worn exoskeletons, intended to help Duchenne patients retain the use of their arms.

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— Electronics

"Designless" brain-like chips created through artificial evolution

Scientists at the University of Twente in the Netherlands have devised a new type of electronic chip that takes after the human brain. Their device is highly power-conscious, massively parallel, and can manipulate data in arbitrary ways even though it doesn't need to be explicitely designed to perform any task. The advance could pave the way for computers that think more like we do.

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— Medical

Robotic needle can be steered through tissue

A robot-assisted system developed at the University of Twente promises to make medical procedures that use needles more precise. The system allows flexible needles to be steered in real time to their target, which negates issues with tissue and organs deforming from the contact pressure or from any unforeseen obstacles that lie between the needle and its target.

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— Robotics

Robot developed to perform ballast tank inspections on ships

In order to maintain a consistent buoyancy as their cargo loads change, ocean-going ships pump seawater in and out of their ballast tanks. Needless to say, that salty water isn't exactly the least-corrosive liquid in the world. That's why crews of inspectors regularly have to go inside those steel tanks, to check for damage. Thanks to the German/Dutch RoboShip project, however, autonomous robots may soon be performing the task. Read More
— Science

MagnetoSperm could find use in drug delivery, or even baby-making

When it comes to moving simply but effectively through a liquid medium, few things are as good as sperm. This fact isn't lost on scientists, who have built tiny sperm-like robots (or even used "hijacked" sperm) in efforts to create new methods of targeted drug delivery, among other potential applications. The latest such endeavor has resulted in a batch of microrobots known as MagnetoSperm. Read More
— Science

Researchers develop new microengine, but aren't sure how it works

If you’re going to do something like building a Porsche 911 that fits on the head of a pin, or make a microscopic medical pump, you need a microscopic engine. A team of researchers from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the Russian Academy of Sciences, and Germany’s University of Freiburg have developed a micro-engine that burns oxygen and hydrogen, but there’s a small problem; they’re not sure how the thing works. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Photoacoustic imaging promises breast cancer screening without ionizing radiation

While breast cancer screening tests are accepted as safe – and we definitely wouldn’t want to scare anyone off from a potentially life-saving test – they do have some risks associated with them. The most obvious being the exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation, which in itself is a risk factor for breast cancer. X-ray mammography can also give false positive and negative results. In the quest for a safer, more accurate alternative, Dutch researchers have provided proof of concept that photoacoustic imaging can be used to detect and visualize breast tumors. Read More
— Health & Wellbeing

Lab-on-a-chip counts and sorts sperm

While just about everyone is familiar with home pregnancy testing kits, what many of us may not realize is that a (sort of) equivalent product exists for men - home sperm count kits. These kits, however, will simply tell users if their sperm count is above or below a standard value. While a yes or no answer like that might suffice for the pregnancy kits, a little more information would definitely help a man who suspects he might be infertile. Loes Segerink, a PhD student from The Netherlands' University of Twente, hopes to change that with this prototype lab-on-a-chip device. Segerink's chip counts exactly how many sperm are present in a sample of ejaculate, and can even differentiate between the good swimmers and the duds. Read More
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