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
We are approaching the stage of civilization when people are becoming more tolerant of each other's objects of affections.
The question some philosophers are asking, though, is: "What if that object is an object?"
I confess to have occasionally felt a frisson of affection for inanimate things. They might have been cars, clothes, or the British when they speak.
However, I have never really considered what it would be like to have an exclusive relationship with something that doesn't talk back, breathe, snore, or tell me to put on a tie.
Flexible material for 3D printing hit the market earlier this year, allowing for objects like jelly shoes, but 3D-printed cloth-like material seemed like a bit of a pipe dream.
A Manchester, UK-based husband-and-wife team from Israel might just be about to change all that. Tamar Giloh of Tamicare has invented what she calls "Cosyflex" -- a stretchy, biodegradable fabric 3D printed using a variety of materials.
The process is a little different from what we have come to know as 3D printing. Rather than an extruder nozzle, the "printer" uses a spray nozzle to create layers of natural rubber-latex polymers and cotton fibers to construct a pair of disposable underpants in less than 3 seconds. The process is fully automated and can produce up to 10 million pairs of the underpants -- pitched at women who experience particularly heavy menstrual flow -- in a year. … Read more
Imagine having a few drinks to ease your nerves before a key meeting or a big date. Maybe you even get a little tipsy, but right before show time you take a special antidote, and within minutes all traces of impairment are gone and you're fully sober and good to go.
That's similar to the experience that leading British neuro-psychopharmacologist David Nutt claims to have had after sampling from an "alcohol surrogate" compound -- one of five Nutt has identified as a possible "safer version of alcohol." … 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
This is your brain. This is your brain on Super Mario 64. See how the gray matter is increased? A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry suggests a whole lot of benefits to playing video games.