background preloader

A sensational breakthrough: the first bionic hand that can feel - News - Gadgets & Tech

A sensational breakthrough: the first bionic hand that can feel - News - Gadgets & Tech
The patient is an unnamed man in his 20s living in Rome who lost the lower part of his arm following an accident, said Silvestro Micera of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. The wiring of his new bionic hand will be connected to the patient’s nervous system with the hope that the man will be able to control the movements of the hand as well as receiving touch signals from the hand’s skin sensors. Dr Micera said that the hand will be attached directly to the patient’s nervous system via electrodes clipped onto two of the arm’s main nerves, the median and the ulnar nerves. This should allow the man to control the hand by his thoughts, as well as receiving sensory signals to his brain from the hand’s sensors. “This is real progress, real hope for amputees. “It is clear that the more sensory feeling an amputee has, the more likely you will get full acceptance of that limb,” he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston. Related:  Cyborg - Human Limbs & Prosthetics

Hitachi Invents Waterproof Glass ‘Disk' That Can Store Data Forever A simple square of glass may hold the key to the vexing problem of storing data indefinitely. Developed by Hitachi, the technology prints a binary series of dots upon a sliver of quartz glass which can then be easily read with a common microscope. It sounds simple enough, and that is exactly the point – the data can be easily accessed no matter what the future technologies of the digital age bring. Even better, the data is safe from fire, chemicals, and water – almost anything, except perhaps a hammer. As the digital age has discarded physical forms of data storage in favor of more dense and delicate forms that require increasingly sophisticated equipment, it has left many institutions in a quandary. The solution of printing binary code onto quartz glass is not too dissimilar to records. The chip uses common quartz glass made for beakers and measures a scant 2 millimeters thick and 2 centimeters square. Via phys.org and Gizmodo

Microsoft’s Perceptive Pixel premise: The future of touch computing isn’t stuck in your pocket When Microsoft purchased the Perceptive Pixel company, maker of 55 and 82 inch touchscreen displays that go by the eponymous acronym PPI, what it intended to do with the firm wasn’t completely clear. At the time, Microsoft stated the following: The acquisition of PPI allows us to draw on our complementary strengths, and we’re excited to accelerate this market evolution [...] PPI’s large touch displays, when combined with hardware from our OEMs, will become powerful Windows 8-based PCs and open new possibilities for productivity and collaboration. For more context, here’s how TNW reported Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s announcement of the purchase: According to Ballmer, Microsoft will [utilize] its research, development and production of multi-touch technologies to further upcoming software and hardware, with the company showing off its huge 82-inch touch-enabled screen at the WPC event. And the prices are coming down. Here’s one in action with someone that you are familiar with: Windows 8

Man With Severed Spinal Cord Walks Again After Cell Transplant A man paralyzed for two years is now walking again, albeit with a frame, after a transplant to his spine. The treatment, to be published in this month's Cell Transplantation, has been under discussion for a while, but has only now shown success. In 2010, Darek Fidyka was repeatedly stabbed, rendering him paralyzed from the chest down. Fortunately, however, his nose was unscathed. Olfactory ensheathing glia (OEGs) surround olfactory axons, the nerve fibers that conduct electrical charges from the nose to the brain to allow us to smell. While some reptiles can grow new tails, for mammals the capacity for regrowth is lost in most of the nervous system. This capacity for regrowth has inspired spinal researchers frustrated by the fact that the mammalian central nervous system does not regenerate axons. Animal experiments have produced axon regeneration and even enabled injured rats and dogs to run again Read this next: Scientists Create Electric Generator Just One Atom Thick

3D-printed cyborg muscle produces artificial heartbeat Sandrine Ceurstemont, editor, New Scientist TV You might expect a robot's heartbeat to be a metallic ticking. But the pulsing in this video isn't completely artificial: it's powered by living material. Created by Peter Walters from the University of the West of England in Bristol, UK, and colleagues, the pump uses the gas released by live yeast to generate pressure and distend a membrane, turning it into an artificial muscle. A valve - activated by electricity produced by a microbial fuel cell - controls the movement of the membrane. Walters says that using yeast allows a lot of pressure to be generated quickly. Getting rid of the waste that the yeast produces is also a challenge. A 3D printer created the rigid components of the system as well as the moulds for the flexible silicone parts. In the future, the robotic pulsing could be used in art and design.

TED 2013: SpaceTop 3D see-through computer revealed 27 February 2013Last updated at 11:20 ET By Jane Wakefield Technology reporter A video from MIT Media Lab/Microsoft Applied Sciences shows how the technology works A transparent computer that allows users to reach inside and touch digital content has been unveiled at the TED conference in Los Angeles. TED fellow Jinha Lee has been working on the SpaceTop 3D desktop in collaboration with Microsoft. Allowing people to interact with machines in the same way they do with solid objects could make computing much more intuitive, he told the BBC. He can see the system coming into general use within a decade. The system consists of a transparent LED display with built-in cameras, which track the user's gestures and eye movements. Human touch The design was inspired by what he sees as a human need to interact with things. "Spatial memory, where the body intuitively remembers where things are, is a very human skill," he said. Jinha Lee thinks this technology could bring learning to life for children

A New Flexible Keyboard Features Clickable Buttons A very thin keyboard that uses shape-changing polymers to replicate the feel and sound of chunky, clicking buttons could be in laptops and ultrabooks next year. Strategic Polymers Sciences, the San Francisco-based company that developed the keyboard, is working on transparent coatings that would enable this feature in touch screens. Today’s portable electronics provide rudimentary tactile feedback—many cell phones can vibrate to confirm that the user has pressed a button on a touch screen, for example. These vibrations are produced by a small motor, meaning the entire phone will move rather than just the appropriate spot on the screen where the button is, and there can be a lag in response time. “It’s amazing how fast software has grown to compensate for problems with touch screens—and sometimes you still text a word that’s the opposite of what you mean,” says Christophe Ramstein, CEO of Strategic Polymers.

How to regenerate axons to recover from spinal-cord injury HKUST researchers cut mouse corticospinal tract axons (labeled red). A year later, they deleted the Pten gene in the experimental group (bottom) but not the control group. The Pten gene removal resulted in axon regrowth in seven months, unlike the control group (top). (credit: Kaimeng Du et al./The Journal of Neuroscience) Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) have found a way to help patients recover from chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) by stimulating the growth of axons. Chronic SCI prevents a large number of injured axons from crossing a lesion, particularly in the corticospinal tract (CST). The deletion also up-regulated (increased) the activity of another gene called MTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin, which further promoted regeneration of the axons. Corticospinal tract (credit: Gray’s Anatomy/Wikimedia Commons) “The regeneration of CST has been a major challenge in the field, especially after chronic injuries.

Quantum Microscope for Living Biology A team of Australian scientists has developed a powerful microscope using the laws of quantum mechanics to probe the inner workings of living cells. The team, a collaboration between The University of Queensland and the Australian National University, believe their microscope could lead to a better understanding of the basic components of life and eventually allow quantum mechanics to be probed at a macroscopic level. Their world-first discovery has been published online today in Nature Photonics. Team leader Associate Professor Warwick Bowen, of UQ’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems, said the study relied on quantum interactions between the photons of light to achieve measurement precision that surpassed conventional measurement. “This ‘quantum microscope’ is a pioneering step towards applications of quantum physics in technology,” Associate Professor Bowen said. “Unfortunately, biological samples are grilled when the power is increased too far,” said Mr Taylor.

Related: