A smart prosthesis, a robotic brain surgeon, and an exoskeleton
The tool used to etch the words “micro plasma laser” onto this chip is the same one that researchers at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, use to produce nanoelectromechanical systems with features smaller than 100 nanometers. The “lead” in this fancy pencil is a controllable plasma made by ionizing argon gas as it is pumped out of a tube. Electrons from the plasma travel through a stencil and into the flexible polymer substrate, where they turn metal salts into wires and structures.
Photo: John Kuntz/The Plain Dealer/Landov
Zac Vawter, who lost his right leg in a motorcycle accident, celebrates with his father after becoming the first person to complete the 103-story climb to the top of Chicago’s Willis Tower wearing a bionic limb. He just has to think about moving and sensors in the 4.5-kilogram bionic leg pick up signals his brain sends to the amputation site. The high-tech prosthesis takes it from there, coordinating the movement of motors at the knee and ankle to produce a smooth gait.
Photo: John Gress/Reuters
These 16-square-meter reflectors help to harness the sun’s energy and direct it into Gregor Schappers’s home in El Sauz, Mexico. Schnappers runs Trynysol, a company whose claim to fame is producing the world’s first industrial-size solar kitchen. The residential setup at his home includes a bread oven that takes advantage of a series of mirrors that bounce the sun’s rays indoors.
Photo: Omar Torres/AFP/Getty Images
New tools are making 3-D figure modeling and animation easier and less time-consuming. When you move one of these mannequins into a different pose, the 32 position sensors that keep track of the relative locations of its 16 joints send information to a computer program, which renders the information as a 3-D model in real time. The Qumarion package, which includes a mannequin and the software, sells for US $750.
Photo: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images
This robotic arm and the computer system that controls it help surgeons perform complicated and delicate procedures such as intracranial biopsies, epilepsy surgeries, and brain tumor resections more quickly and accurately. The system, called Rosa, combines advanced haptic technology with advanced visualization to allow surgeons to feel what the arm feels and to see parts of the brain from multiple angles and depths.
Photo: Patrick Aventurier/Getty Images
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which traced a path of destruction through the New York tristate area in late October, a large portion of New York City’s Manhattan island was left without power. Residents desperate to stay in contact via cellphone, tablet, or laptop kept their electronic gadgets charged up thanks to the generosity of strangers who set up makeshift charging stations where power was available.
Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Eyal Baror, the CEO of Neur1onix, stands behind his company’s product—a system that helps treat people with Alzheimer’s disease. The noninvasive medical device, which combines electromagnetic stimulation with computer-based cognitive training, has boosted the cognitive functioning of patients in an ongoing U.S. trial. “We see improvement lasting for 9 to 12 months, and the good thing is that patients can return and undergo treatment again,” says Baror. It has already been approved for use in Europe and Israel.
Photo: Nir Elias/Reuters/Landov
Rather than introduce yet another wristwatch-based location and fitness tracker, the makers of the Misfit Shine created a waterproof gadget about the size and thickness of a couple of U.S. coins. The battery-powered device, which talks to any iOS 5 device via a proprietary data-transfer technique, keeps track of stats for walks, runs, swims, and bike rides. The Shine, which will be available in March 2013, will sell for US $99.
Photo: Misfit Wearables/PRNewsFoto
Robotics company Cyberdyne shows off its HAL robot suit, an exoskeleton designed to be worn by rescue, recovery, factory, and health-care workers who do a lot of lifting, and disabled people, who would use the exoskeleton to regain mobility. The 23-kilogram suit moves in unison with the wearer when sensors attached to the skin pick up signals from the wearer’s motor neurons.