If a robot is sent to disable a roadside bomb — or delicately handle an egg while cooking you an omelet — it needs to be able to sense when objects are slipping out of its grasp.
These muscle-like textiles made from cellulose yarn can respond to low-voltage electricity to contract just like actual muscle fibers. Clothing made from such a material could help those with disabilities enhance their mobility by providing a far more light-weight alternative to cumbersome exoskeletons.
John Nhial was barely a teenager when he was grabbed by a Sudanese guerrilla army and forced to become a child soldier. He was made to endure weeks of walking with so little food and water that some of his fellow captives died. Four more were killed one night in a wild-animal attack.
Scientists have developed sensor technology for a robotic prosthetic arm that detects signals from nerves in the spinal cord.
To control the prosthetic, the patient has to think like they are controlling a phantom arm and imagine some simple manoeuvres, such as pinching two fingers together.
Modern prostheses sport things like articulated fingers that can be controlled by picking up impulses from their wearer’s remaining nerves.But a bionic limb receiving commands is only half the picture. To be a true replacement, it should also be able to send sensations back to its wearer, to enable him to control it precisely.
Researchers from University of Pittsburgh successfully managed to bring back the feeling of sensation to a man severely paralyzed a decade earlier. The 28 year-old had electrodes from a brain-computer interface (BCI) implanted into the primary somatosensory cortex of his brain.
3D printed prostheses are fast becoming a more accepted and viable option, and they’re about to become competitive.
This is Denise Schindler, a paralympian and leg amputee from Germany. She won a silver medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.