Nicky Ashwell was born without her right arm and now she got equipped with Steeper’s bebionic small hand. This seems to be one of the most sophisticated robotic prosthetics out there. For years, Touch Bionics has seemed to be in the forefront but now there are more competitors.
First UK user receives worlds most lifelike bionic hand: Nicky Ashwell becomes first UK user
Her bionic hand costs about $11,000 and has 337 mechanical parts and 14 precision grips. Its makers want to transform the lives of 3 million amputees. An excerpt from the article:
“I realized that I had been making life challenging for myself when I didn’t need to,” she continued. “The movements now come easily and look natural. I keep finding myself being surprised by the little things, like being able to carry my purse while holding my boyfriend’s hand.”
With such developments (cost goes down while functionalities improve), soon, all prosthetics will be as futuristic as Luke Skywalker’s bionic hand in the trailer of Star Wars Episode VII (at 00:45 in the video below).
About a year ago, I wrote about a robot prototype made by a company based in California that aims at combining robotics and image-analysis technology so then it can find a good vein in your arm and also draw blood. Well, it seems now it became reality.
If you ever wonder where the developments of robotics are heading, check what Boston Dynamics has been working on:
When I wrote about nanorobots living in our bloodstream and detecting diseases before they could even develop in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, some readers said that might be a too futuristic concept. Now, here is a great report on Medgadget about microrobots that can swim through bodily fluids. These are developed with the long-term goal of transporting drugs to places in the body we cannot reach now.
A collaboration between scientists in Europe and Israel has developed a novel propulsion system modeled on scallops that can move tiny objects through many of the body’s fluids. The tiny scallop is powered by an external magnetic field that makes the device open and close. Because bodily fluids are typically non-Newtonian, meaning their viscosity changes depending on how fast an object is moving through them, flapping the scallop’s opposing shells at different speeds on the closing than the opening stroke allows it to propel confidently in one direction.
We might be still far away from developing functional nanorobots, but such microrobots definitely represent an important step into that direction.
I recently had a radio interview on NPR Health about how I think robots could and should be used in dealing with the ebola outbreak.
You can listen to the interview and read my lines here.
A crucial reason Ebola hasn’t taken off more widely in the United States and elsewhere is that it’s spread only by direct human-to-human contact involving bodily fluids. What if technology could create distance between the virus and the health care worker – remove the human touch?
I cannot tell you how happy I’m to announce the official release of my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine which was just made available in black & white paperback, colored paperback and Kindle formats. Moreover, the Kindle format is for free (yes, totally free) until the 6th of September.
It contains over one year of hard work, 70 interviews and 22 trends that will shape the future of medicine including Augmented Reality, Surgical and Humanoid Robots, Genomics, Body Sensors, The Medical Tricorder, 3D Printing, Exoskeletons, Artificial Intelligence, Nanorobots, Virtual–Digital Brains, The Rise of Recreational Cyborgs or Cryonics and Longevity.
Through these, I challenged myself to prove that it is possible to use more and more disruptive technologies in medicine while successfully keeping the human touch.
With Lucien Engelen’s foreword, the many examples and extraordinary stories depicted in the book, you will hopefully get a clear picture where medicine and healthcare are heading at the moment, and more importantly, what we can do as patients, medical professionals or policy makers to prepare for the waves of change.
Please use the #medicalfuture hashtag on Twitter and tell me what you think!
I’ve been in touch with the developers of Ekso Bionics, a motorized exoskeleton that helps paralyzed people learn to walk again, therefore I’m always happy to see new developments in this area. Now, an exoskeleton designed by another company, ReWalk Robotics, received FDA approval which is amazing news for paralyzed people as well. We are truly not far now from giving every paralyzed people a chance to walk again.
A motorized exoskeleton designed to help some of the 200,000 people in the U.S. with lower body paralysis has won clearance from the FDA to market the device in the U.S., according to a company and FDA statement. ReWalk Robotics’ device is designed to help people with spinal cord injuries stand upright and walk.
ReWalk uses a fitted, metal brace that supports the legs and part of the upper body. Motors provide movement at the hips, knees, and ankles. There’s also a tilt sensor and a backpack that contains the computer and power supply. The idea is that by getting people out of their wheelchairs, users can lead healthier lives. Some of the risk factors associated with paralysis over timeincludes hypertension, blood clots and respiratory problems.
It can be used for personal and clinical rehabilitation purposes. Science fiction (Avatar, Ironman, etc.) is getting real soon!