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Honda walking aid is like a bicycle seat with motorized legs
November 15, 2008 06:54 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
Honda has been researching artificial mobility for a long time. In 2000, the company introduced the Asimo humanoid robot. Last Spring Honda showed an experimental model of a walking assist device which could help the elderly and other people with weakened leg muscles. Designed for people who are still capable of walking on their own, it's worn with a belt around the hips and thighs and helps to move the wearer's legs.

Prototype artificial heart unveiled, expected to cost $192k
November 02, 2008 04:20 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
For all the bad news in medicine today -- studies that cell phones might cause cancer, or that widely used flame retardants could have dire effects -- there's also a lot of good news. Recent studies have moved us closer to curing paralysis with nerve bypasses wired directly into the brain. And there have been a broad variety of new treatments for cancer devised; many involving nanoparticles.

Now the world's first autonomous artificial heart can be added to that list.

Dean Kamen's 'Luke Arm' Prosthesis Readies for Clinical Trials
October 29, 2008 10:12 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
Dean Kamen's “Luke arm”—a prosthesis named for the remarkably lifelike prosthetic worn by Luke Skywalker in Star Wars—came to the end of its two-year funding last month. Its fate now rests in the hands of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which funded the project. If DARPA gives the project the green light—and some greenbacks—the state-of-the-art bionic arm will go into clinical trials. If all goes well, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives its approval, returning veterans could be wearing the new artificial limb by next year.

Single Incision Robotic Kidney Removal
October 23, 2008 05:10 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
For the first time in Michigan, a diseased kidney has been surgically removed at Henry Ford Hospital using highly sophisticated 3D robotics through a single incision.

“We made several improvements in the technique that could allow us to perform this type of procedure routinely,” says Craig Rogers, M.D., Henry Ford’s director of robotic renal surgery. He performed the delicate operation last week using the da Vinci Surgical System, which has already been used in thousands of successful surgeries for complete and partial removal of diseased prostates.

The Cutting Edge of Haptic Research
October 23, 2008 04:36 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
Using tools such as graphical system design, reserachers are developing new, safer ways of interacting with machines that also permit more efficient operation. Have you ever played a car racing video game that shakes when you go off-road? If so, you have interacted with a haptic interface. The word haptic comes from the Greek haptikos, which means to touch, grasp, or perceive.

With haptic robotics, a user can feel a remote or virtual environment. A haptic interface provides sensory feedback — typically in the form of pressure or physical resistance — so users feel as if they are physically interacting with something, even though they are not. For example, a haptic interface may be used to provide a feeling of resistance in the rudder controls of a flight simulator. The feedback would help the pilot know when to apply more or less force to the instruments.

Medical robot mimics obscure conditions
October 22, 2008 10:51 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
A “sick” robot developed by researchers at Gifu University’s Graduate School of Medicine is providing hands-on educational assistance to future medical practitioners. When students touch its head and abdomen in places it feels pain, the robot says, “That hurts.”

With 24 sensors embedded in its head and body under a layer of soft, warm (near body temperature) silicone skin, the robot can detect the hand pressure applied by the examiner. And depending on which of the 8 pre-programmed medical conditions — which range from acute gastroenteritis to appendicitis — it is suffering from, the robot provides a vocal response to the examiner’s questions and manual pressure.

Micro Robots, From Cell Manipulation To Micro Assembly
October 22, 2008 10:28 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
From cell manipulation to micro assembly, micro robots devised by an international team of researchers offer a glimpse of the future.

The MICRON project team, led by the Institute for Process Control and Robotics (IPR), Karlsruhe, Germany, brought together eight international partners. Funded under the European Commission's FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme, MICRON set out to build a total of five to ten micro robots, just cubic centimetres in size.

A Toast to the Bionic Man
October 21, 2008 01:52 AM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
The plotline is classic Marvel Comics fare: An electrician grabs a high-tension wire carrying 7,000 volts of electricity, loses both arms at the shoulder, undergoes an experimental surgery, and emerges bionic. Sci-fi as it sounds, this is the story of Jesse Sullivan, 58, a real-life retired linesman from Dayton, Tennessee.

In July, Sullivan demonstrated the world's most advanced robotic arm, using his thoughts alone to maneuver it. Before an audience at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago he picked up a water bottle, took a swig, and set it back down. "Jesse was awesome," says Todd Kuiken, director of RIC's amputee program, who pioneered the radical nerve-transfer surgery that allows Sullivan to communicate with the limb. Kuiken also engineered the new limb's design.

Clever artificial hand developed
October 21, 2008 01:46 AM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
Scientists have developed an ultra-light limb that they claim can mimic the movement in a real hand better than any currently available. At present, prosthetic hands either do not move at all or have a simple single-motor grip. But the University of Southampton team has designed a prototype that uses six sets of motors and gears so each of the five fingers can move independently.

Jesse Sullivan, the world's first Bionic Man
October 21, 2008 01:42 AM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
JESSE Sullivan has two prosthetic arms, but he can climb a ladder at his house and roll on a fresh coat of paint.

He's also good with a weed cutter, bending his elbow and rotating his forearm to guide the machine. He's even mastered a more sensitive maneuver – hugging his grandchildren. The motions are coordinated and smooth because his left arm is a bionic device controlled by his brain.

'Bionic' limb breakthrough made
October 21, 2008 01:36 AM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
UK scientists have developed technology that enables artificial limbs to be directly attached to a human skeleton. The breakthrough, developed by researchers at University College London, allows the prosthesis to breach the skin without risk of infection.

The team says early clinical trials have been "very promising". It hopes the work - which is to be published in the Journal of Anatomy - may help survivors of the 7 July bombings, as well as other amputees.

Revolutionary New Robot Helps People Learn to Walk Again After Stroke or Disability
October 19, 2008 10:23 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill., Sept 24, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Patients learning to walk again after a stroke and neurological injuries are benefiting from a revolutionary new device in the KineAssist(TM) Robot, which represents a giant leap forward in effectiveness for people learning to walk again after a stroke or neurological injuries.

Robot Has Human-like Hand Controlled By 'Brain' Modeled After Human Cerebellum
October 19, 2008 07:00 PM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
A European research project has brought the dream of human-like robots closer to reality by creating a human-like arm and hand controlled by an electronic ‘brain’ modeled on the human cerebellum. “Hollywood did a bad job for us,” says Patrick van der Smagt, the coordinator of SENSOPAC, an EU-funded project whose goal is to create a robotic arm, hand and brain with human-like physical and cognitive capabilities. While the movies have convinced many people that humanoid robots, such as C-3PO or WALL-E are realistic, van der Smagt knows all too well how difficult it is to build robots with even basic human abilities.

Rat-brain controlled robot aids memory research
October 18, 2008 11:53 AM EST - submitted by Daniel Shope
A robot using biological brain matter from rodents to control its movements is helping researchers learn more about human neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, according to University of Reading researchers in the U.K.

The robot represents a multidisciplinary effort within the University of Reading, whose team includes Kevin Warwick, head of Cybernetics in the School of Systems Engineering, and Ben Whalley, pharmacist and professor in the School of Pharmacy.

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