Tony Nicklinson is a rugby fan, a husband, and a father. He also has locked-in syndrome, which has left him fully paralyzed. His only method of communicating is through a specially designed computer system triggered by small eye and head movements.
Future tech takes all kinds of forms, and some of those forms are the kind that let you smoke without the guilt or the cancer!
I recently visited Thermo Essence Technologies, which is a Silicon Valley company that makes high-tech "vaporizers" for inhaling nicotine, medical marijuana, or other herbs. They're kind of like electronic cigarettes, but much more premium in terms of construction (and cost). They come in multiple varieties, and they both look cool and keep you from getting cancer, no matter what you're smoking.
The vaporizers use a (rechargeable) battery-powered kiln to conduct super-heated … Read more
Fixed-lens glasses are so last year -- if U.K.-based company Eyejusters has anything to say about it, that is.
Eyejusters' "SlideLens" technology enables users to turn a dial on one of the glasses' temple arms to slide two lenses across one another and thereby adjust the focus. That just might help some of the world's estimated 670 million people who need glasses but don't have them manipulate their own prescriptions.
Eyejusters calculates that its two types of glasses -- positive power (to correct near-sightedness) and negative power (to correct far-sightedness) -- could help roughly 90 percent of people whose poor vision can be corrected using glasses.… Read more
I don't run without music. I just get too bored. But a few beats into songs by, say, The Knife, and my feet are pounding the pavement hard. I'm also perpetually safety-conscious, though, which means I tend to avoid Portland's beautiful but busy waterfront loop in favor of quiet streets with low traffic.
So I have long hoped for the perfect sports headphones that are durable, comfortable, and let the ambient noise in. Enter AIRbudz, the alternative earbud attachments that Utah-based entrepreneur (and jogger) Tammy Erdel is raising funds for on Kickstarter.
AIRbudz deal with external sound blockage by incorporating air channels into their 3D-printed buds that quite simply let ambient sound stream in. The ambient noise is obviously still competing with whatever sounds are pumping through the headphones, but that sound doesn't appear to be in any way altered or compromised.… Read more
As a woman lies on a mattress on the floor, a small white machine attached to her outstretched right arm offers the following words:
I am the Last Moment Robot. I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on Earth. I am sorry that your family and friends can't be with you right now, but don't be afraid. I am here to comfort you. You are not alone, you are with me. Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are gone.
Jarred by the notion of someone dying in the company of a machine instead of loved ones (or at least other humans)? That's partly the point. … Read more
Microsoft's Kinect has in recent years spawned hundreds of side hack projects. This week, a group of researchers and surgeons out of London is piloting a project developed alongside Microsoft Research to enable touchless viewing and manipulation of images while performing vascular surgery.
During complex aneurysm procedures, a computer program takes a 3D image of a patient's anatomy and produces several 2D images taken from different angles. The Kinect tech then enables surgeons to operate those images using gesture and voice alone.
The benefits are two-fold: surgeons can more easily maintain a sterile environment when they don't … Read more
Malaria nets don't generally grace the pages of Vogue. But that could change, thanks to a couple of inventive Cornell University scientists.
The two, both from Africa, have created a hooded garment embedded with insecticide to ward off mosquitoes infected with malaria, a preventable and curable infectious disease that kills more than 650,000 people a year on the continent, according to the World Health Organization.
The getup consists of a colorful hand-dyed one-piece bodysuit and a mesh cape and hood. While nets treated with insecticide are a common, cost-effective prevention tool in Africa, the Cornellians say their garment can be worn during the day for extra protection. Plus, their fabric's mosquito-repellant properties are extra strong and long-lasting. … Read more
Without machines, Zachary Thomason wouldn't live very long. The boy has been on a ventilator for all of his 12 years because he suffers from a rare muscle disorder that makes him extremely weak.
Until now, X-linked myotubular myopathy has prevented him from going to school regularly. But since the Paragould School District in Arkansas purchased a $5,000 VGo telepresence robot, chances are he'll become an avatar-style student soon.
Zach likes to play PlayStation, so he can remote-control the VGo, which is basically a Webcam on wheels. At 4 feet tall, it's designed to project the user's presence into a remote location with two-way audio and video, allowing for richer interaction than a phone call or stationary Webcam. … Read more
Claire Lomas suffered a T4 spinal injury in a 2007 horse riding accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down. In 2012, she completed the London Marathon. What happened in between was the development of a robotic suit that let her tackle the challenge on her own two legs.
It took 17 days for the 32-year-old resident of Leicestershire, England, to cross the finish line. Her motivation for the marathon was to raise funds for spinal cord injury research. So far, she has raised nearly $200,000.
The robotic ReWalk suit, one of several such devices, is made by Israeli company Argo Medical Technologies. It's a powered exoskeleton full of motion sensors, rechargeable batteries, and a computer system that allows the walker to control the suit.
ReWalk lets users stand, walk, and even climb and descend stairs. Crutches are used for stability (Lomas still has use of her arms). … Read more
The quest for the Fountain of Youth has never really gone away. On the more extreme end, we recently heard about FaceTime face-lifts. Those make CASS' Wear Repair line of anti-aging clothing sound somewhat reasonable.
Here's the premise. Wear Repair uses copper-infused fabric that claims to improve skin elasticity, reduce age spots, and give your skin a healthy glow. It is made from Cupron fabric that is 66 percent copper.
There are mentions on the CASS Web site of clinical trials of copper-enhanced fabrics. A little digging brought up a bibliography of studies on the biocidal effects of Cupron technology over at the Cupron site.… Read more