Posts Tagged: "bionics"

Advances in exoskeleton tech provide the gift of walking to paraplegic patients

Powered exoskeletons, which can improve a person’s gait, are starting to gain traction as a new area of bionic development, which could potentially improve the lives of many. Recently, the California-based bionics firm suitX was selected as the winner of the $1 million top prize at the event for its pediatric medical exoskeleton at the 2016 UAE AI & Robotics Competition for Good. The company’s Phoenix exoskeleton is a modular unit which has a maximum weight of 27 pounds and is adjustable in size. The pediatric exoskeleton that won the award is based on the company’s Phoenix exoskeleton platform. The pediatric version of the Phoenix exoskeleton has been envisioned for helping children suffering from cerebral palsy or spina bifida to gain ambulatory mobility.

EsoGlove, developed in Singapore, applies robotics to hand and nerve rehabilitation

Researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a robotic glove designed to improve patient rehabilitation after injuries or nerve-related conditions that may have affected a person’s full range of motion with his or her hand, such as those suffered by a stroke or from muscular dystrophy. The robotic glove unit, known as the EsoGlove, is mainly made of fabric which is secured to a user’s hand with Velcro straps and a number of soft actuator components. These soft actuators are pressurized by air to distribute forces along the length of a wearer’s finger to encourage natural movements like bending or twisting.

The future of bionic arm tech is mind-controlled, cheap to produce

The first decade of the 21st century saw some major advances in bionic arm technologies. The first half of that decade saw a team of researchers working together at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s Center for Bionic Medicine crafted a bionic arm for Jesse Sullivan, a high-power electrical lineman who lost both of his arms in May 2001 as the result of electrocution. The bionic arm is myoelectric, meaning that it is capable of detecting electrical signals generated by the muscles of the human body. To increase the control signals that can be detected from the body, doctors at RIC’s Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs performed a series of nerve-muscle grafts to move nerves which used to travel to the arms into the chest muscles. By increasing the number of control signals that can be read from the patient’s nerves, doctors were able to outfit Sullivan with a working bionic arm that could be controlled naturally from his nerve impulses.

Bionics are starting to reverse vision loss and restore sight to the blind

There have been reports of technological advances which could make bionic vision a reality. One company, Occumetrics Technology Corp. of British Columbia, Canada, has been making a stir with claims of a bionic lens which could help recipients to see three times better than a human’s normal visual acuity, which we commonly refer to as “20/20 vision.” The lens can purportedly be painlessly implanted into a person’s eye in a procedure similar to cataract surgery. The company claims that the replacement operation could be performed as an outpatient procedure that takes less than 10 minutes to complete.