Will robotics lead to the ‘transcendent human’?

Hugh Herr heads the biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab, designing bionic limbs that emulate natural human limbs. In his presentation for DigitasLBi’s New FrontUK conference last week, he wants to go them one better: “We will design nature and change nature under our own power. In the future people will be wearing robots. You don’t need a missing leg to exploit this technology – we will give ourselves new bodies.” He can speak from personal experience, having lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago and designing his own prosthetic BiOM legs to be more powerful and exceeding his previous rock climbing ability. “With technology I am released from these shackles of disability. We will end disability in this century.” The need here is huge, including exoskeletons as assistive devices; the consideration is cost. Marketing (UK) Magazine

Related: his 2014 TedX talk.

3D printing for medical uses spotlighted

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Heart-blood-volume_0.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A newcomer to the health tech blog scene, InternetMedicine from John Bennett MD of Miami, Florida, presents an overview on 3D printing plus videos:  printing tissue (including the cartilage of a human ear), customized prosthetic limbs, customized exoskeletons (see Editor Charles’ bionic arm article), a personalized airway splint (caught at the NYeC DHC), bone scaffolds and cardiac models. 2014 may be the year of 3D printing for medical. 6 Promising Medical Applications of 3-D Printing

Pressure-sensitive electronic ‘skin’

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/skin-monitor-130513.jpg” thumb_width=”175″ /]A thin pressure sensor under development by a team at Stanford University has the potential to impact robotics, health tech devices, smartwatches and prosthetics. A transistor made of a flexible polymer semiconductor is actually more sensitive than skin, detecting temperature, pressure and humidity, and works even when curved. At a pulse point, it not only detected pulse but also “a second, weaker wave of blood being bounced back from the extremities, and a third wave that can provide a measurement of the stiffness of the artery. Stiff arteries can be a sign of damage from diabetes, or cholesterol buildup.” LiveScience. Published in Nature Communications in May and somehow winding up in the NY Post this week.

Related:

  • the TakkTile sensor developed at Harvard which is also centered on a digital barometer [TTA 23 April].
  • another pressure-sensitive thin skin from researchers Martin Kaltenbrunner and Takao Someya at the University of Tokyo, oddly attractive on its own. Engadget