The October 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

iCandy: Bionics

Web-enabled electromechanical hands and specially tailored pet paws

0 min read
iCandy: Bionics
Photo: Toby Melville/ Reuters

Photo: Ho New/Reuters
Oscar the cat stands tall on prosthetic limbs that were surgically implanted after he lost his original hind legs in a run-in with a combine harvester. He was the first-ever recipient of implants called intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prostheses. Veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick, known as the Bionic Vet, attached metal rods with honeycomb structures to the bones at the amputation sites so that bone could grow into the rods’ pores. The result was permanent adhesion. Oscar’s plastic feet were then attached to the rods.

   

The Conversation (0)

From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Vertical
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush
Yellow

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

Keep Reading ↓Show less