Interactive Bionic Man, featuring 14 novel biotechnologies
The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering has launched the “NIBIB Bionic Man,” an interactive Web tool that showcases cutting-edge research in biotechnology. The bionic man features 14 technologies currently being developed by NIBIB-supported researchers. Examples include a powered prosthetic leg that helps users achieve a more natural gait, a wireless brain-computer interface that lets people who are paralyzed control computer devices or robotic limbs using only their thoughts, and a micro-patch that delivers vaccines painlessly and doesn’t need refrigeration. (via Interactive Bionic Man, featuring 14 novel biotechnologies | KurzweilAI)
A Vision of the Future From Those Likely to Invent It
Entertaining read from The Upshot. Insights via Marc Andreessen, Reid Hoffman, Clara Shih, Peter Thiel, Sebastian Thrun, Ev Williams and Susan Wojcick.From employment to leisure and transportation to education, tech is changing the world at a faster pace than ever before. Already, people wear computers on their faces, robots scurry through factories and battlefields and driverless cars dot the highway that cuts through Silicon Valley. Almost two-thirds of Americans think technological change will lead to a better future, while about one-third think people’s lives will be worse as a result, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center. Regardless, expect more change. In a series of interviews, which have been condensed and edited, seven people who are driving this transformation provided a glimpse into the not-too-distant future.
it’s not good to overeat!
healthcare animation from James Gilleard
Tuesday Tips SUPER WEEK - Hands
This is the first post about hands. Other posts about hands in the future will cover “hands in relationship to the body”, “different characters, different hands”, “expressive hands” and “hands touching things”. If you have suggestions for Tuesday Tips, write me a personal message.
Wander Over Yonder model sheets by Craig McCracken and Alex Kirwan from http://floobynooby.blogspot.com
A $50 3D-Printed Prosthesis aka Cyborg Beast compared to a $42,000 Myoelectric Prosthesis
I recently had the opportunity to work with a great guy named Jose Delgado, Jr., a 53-year old who was born without most of his left hand. I made a 3D printed prosthetic hand for Jose and, after using it for a while, I asked him to give me some honest feedback about how it compares to his more expensive myoelectric prosthesis. This is obviously not an “apples to apples” comparison in terms of the devices, but the real value of a prosthesis comes from how useful it is on a day-to-day basis, and that is the focus of the comparison here.
This 3D printed prosthesis is a completely mechanical design. There are a series of non-flexible cords running along the underside of each finger, connecting to a “tensioning block” on the top rear of the device (the “gauntlet”). The tension is caused by bending the wrist downward. With the wrist in its natural resting position, the fingers are extended, with a natural inward curve. When the wrist is bent 20-30 degrees downward, the non-flexible cords are pulled, causing the fingers and thumb to bend inwards. A second series of flexible cords run along the tops of the fingers, causing the fingers to return automatically when tension is released.
3D printers are coming down in price rapidly. As of today, you can get a self-assembly kit starting at around a few hundred dollars, and a fully assembled “prosumer” level printer is going for around $1000-$2000. In other words, this kind of technology is becoming very accessible, and it’s opening up some very exciting possibilities!
A big thanks to the great work of those who contributed to the e-NABLE Hand prosthesis (aka the “Cyborg Beast”), including Jorge Zuniga, Frankie Flood, Ivan Owen, David Orgeman, and others in the e-NABLE community.
Inside a medical journal
In healthy people, plasma cholesterol exists in a variety of forms including VLDL, IDL and LDL. Liver cells secrete VLDL, which has three surface apolipoproteins: ApoE, B-100 and ApoC. VLDL undergoes lipolysis in capillaries of adipose tissue or muscle, which extracts triglycerides from the molecule. This converts it into IDL, which has also lost the membrane protein ApoC. Around 50% of IDL is taken up by liver cells via receptors for B-100 or ApoE; whatever remains undergoes further metabolic processes and is converted into LDL, which only has the B-100 membrane protein. LDL is then taken up by liver cells to undergo cholesterol metabolism and be recycled as VLDL.
In familial hypercholesterolemia, a mutation in the receptor for apolipoprotein B-100 interferes with this process. LDL cannot be removed from the plasma, and less IDL is taken up, resulting in increased production of LDL. Homozygotes with this mutation have 5-6 times higher levels of LDL than a healthy person, and are susceptible to developing skin xanthomas and atherosclerosis.
Source: Kumar, V. et al., 2009. Robbins & Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease, Elsevier Health Sciences.