Inspired by bicycles, scooters, and skateboards that make their users feel happy, and designed by former Sony, Toyota, and Olympus engineers, startup Whill has taken its first wheelchair, the Type-A, from an idea to production. The company says the chair is now available for preorder and will start shipping within the US in early 2014.
What if people who are paralyzed could use their brainwaves to get up out of wheelchairs and walk away? That's exactly what researchers from the University of Houston are hoping to accomplish with the latest evolution of robotic exoskeletons. They're turning to mind control to move these high-tech mobility machines to the next level -- and take patients with them.
The idea for for a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton came to engineering professor Jose Contreras-Vidal, the project's lead, after Duke University's Miguel Nicolelis demonstrated that electrode arrays implanted in monkey brains could pick up on the neuron-firing patterns that occur when the monkey thinks about walking.
"Contreras-Vidal's group found out they could get the same effects using EEG (electroencephalography) to control an exoskeleton. EEG doesn't have the spatial resolution of an implanted electrode array, but it is noninvasive and has the added benefit of being able to measure electrical activity across the entire brain," Popular Mechanics reported. … Read more
Honda's latest foray into the world beyond cars and bikes may sound like a bit of a leap, but it's the next logical step in the company's line of personal mobility devices.
The Walking Assist Device, which we took a look at back in 2008 but ultimately dates back to 1999, has evolved from an interesting concept that might make walking a bit easier to the subject of a new clinical trial that might help stroke patients improve their mobility.
Honda announced last week that it is currently testing its battery-powered device at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. As with its humanoid bot ASIMO, Honda says its Walking Assist Device uses cooperative control tech the company developed over the course of studying the human gait. Using readings from hip angle sensors of the patient's natural gait, a control computer activates motors to improve the symmetry of the timing of each leg lift and to promote a longer stride. The simple design includes adjustable belts to fit over differently-sized people and clothing.… Read more
One in five deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to cigarettes, according to the Centers for Disease Control, amounting to roughly 440,000 deaths a year. (That's 1,205 a day, or 50 an hour.)
Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that smoking cessation apps are all the rage. More than 700,000 such downloads are averaged for the Android OS alone each month, according to Lorien C. Abroms, assistant professor at the George Washington School of Public Health and Health Services, and they enjoy a minimal level of regulation given the Food and Drug … Read more
Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison say they have been able to both diagnose and treat the condition while the baby is still in the womb.
So is anyone surprised to see a lawsuit disputing claims that caffeine-infused undies can help zap fat?
Two women are suing lingerie maker Maidenform for "consumer fraud, breach of warranty and unjust enrichment," according to Courthouse News. … Read more
Duke University has been experimenting with telekinetic monkeys for some time now.
Zits. It's easy to forget how devastating their sudden emergence -- always at the most inopportune moments -- can be. But surely everyone remembers at least one time when a zit was, at least for a day, the single most mortifying thing that ever happened.
The device projects light of different wavelengths onto the skin to take transdermal images of the acne, sends that data to a connected smartphone, and the SmartZ app for iPhone uses … Read more
There's an old Swedish saying that cyclists often like to paraphrase: There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Now, a new smart shirt seems to suggest that, indeed, clothing has the potential to not only affect how we weather the weather, but how we maintain our health, too.
The FitnessSHIRT, which was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany, may be available sometime in the next year. It uses conductive textile electrodes integrated into its material to capture cardio activity -- including breathing, pulse, and changes in heart rate. The … Read more
In the not-too-distant future, it is quite likely that most interactions between patients and the health care system will happen online, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who partnered with The Commonwealth Fund to review recent trends in digital health care as well as scientific literature.
Thanks to consumer-directed health apps, electronic health records (EHRs), telemedicine, and the like, researchers say that patients are going to dramatically change the way they interact with their doctors. They report their findings in the November issue of the journal Health Affairs.
The researchers estimate that when EHRs … Read more