Posts Tagged ‘ Development ’

The Futures Of Prosthetics… Artificial Skin.


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The first time I watched the movie iRobot, I was transfixed on the concept of an injured person receiving a prosthetic that the rest of the world couldn’t detect.  (Spoiler Alert: Will Smith gets his arm ripped off by a robot in a car crash, but if you haven’t seen the movie already, you probably never will, so I just saved you $4.99).  The first and fundamental steps in developing a prosthesis like this is already out in the real world.  Soldiers, and civilians alike can have prosthetic limbs fashioned for them, and it’s no longer necessarily considered a miracle of science.  These prosthesis however are primarily for mobility only, they can’t feed the wearer any information about the surrounding environment.

Simply put before you step on something hot, you can feel it in the bottom of your feet. This is a functionality that the great folks over at Stanford are trying to bring to prosthetics, much like the skin surrounding our own limbs.  Artificial skin created in a lab can “feel” similar to the way a fingertip senses pressure.  The stretchy, flexible skin is made of a synthetic rubber that has been designed, to have  micron-scale pyramid like structures that make it especially sensitive to pressure, sort of like mini internal mattress springs.

Stanford scientists sprinkled the pressure-sensitive rubber with carbon nanotubes— microscopic cylinders of carbon that are highly conductive to electricity — so that, when the material was touched, a series of pulses is generated from the sensor.  The series of pulses is then sent to brain cells in a way that resembles how touch receptors in human skin send sensations to the brain.  “We were able to create [a system] very similar to biological mechanical receptors,” said Benjamin Tee, lead author of the paper and a scientist at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore.

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To test whether the skin could create electric pulses that brain cells could respond to, the scientists connected the synthetic skin to a circuit connected to a blue LED light. When the skin was touched, the sensor sent electric pulses to the LED which pulsed in response. The sensors translated that pressure pulse into an electric pulses. When the sensors in the skin sent the electrical pulse to the LED (very much like touch receptors in real-life skin sending touch-sensation signals to the brain) a blue light flashed. The higher the pressure, the faster the LED flashed.

Scientists added channelrhodopsin, a special protein that causes brain cells to react to blue light, to the mouse brain cells. The channelrhodopsin let the LED light act like receptor cells in the skin. When the light flashed it sent a signal to the brain cells that the artificial skin had been touched.  The experiment showed that, when the artificial skin was touched, the brain cells would react in the same way as brains react to real skin being touched, the researchers said in the study, published Oct. 16 in the journal Science.

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Using light to stimulate brain cells is a fairly recent area of study called optogenetics, in which scientists add special proteins to brain cells that let them react to light and shows scientists how different parts of the brain work. The advantage of using optogenetics over other technologies that directly stimulate neurons, such as electrodes directly attached to brain tissue, is that higher frequencies can be used, Lee said. Having a technology that can stimulate the cells at higher frequencies is important because it more accurately recreates the way that receptor cells send signals to our brains.

The testing is still in the early phases, and the skin hasn’t been tested with human neurons as of yet.  Tee said to Live Science – “We actually did connect [the sensors] to a robotic hand and a computer,” adding that they were able to record the pulse spikes. However, these experiments were designed primarily to prove that the technology was able to send a signal that could be registered by the same robotics technologies used in advanced prosthetic technologies.  “The natural next step would be to test [the skin] in higher primates,” Tee said. “The eventual goal is to have the skin stimulate real human brains.”

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3D printed Organs From Regenerative Living Cells


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In the most recent medical development in artificial organ creation, a team of scientists and physicians from cornell university have engineered 3D printed life-like ears used to treat children born with a congenital deformity called microtia, or help individuals who have lost part or all of their external ear in an accident or from cancer. The artificial body tissue is made by processing additive gels found within living cells – with collagen derived from rat tails and cartilage taken from cow ears. The modelling process is digitized into an assemble-able human ear, where then high-density gel, similar to the consistency of jell-o is injected into a mold – resulting in flesh resembling that of a human-being. In the future, the engineers will look at new ways to develop populations of human ear cartilage cells from patients instead of cow cartilage, which would reduce any possibility of rejection.

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Luxury Mazzanti Evantra V8


04 03 07Mazzanti released in the past weeks the images of the definitive version of their new Evantra V8. The carbon fiber composite body of the Evantra V8 is characterized by the new rear wing and the series of inserts realized in carbon fiber, or brushed aluminium. The performance of the Evantra V8 equipped with a 6-speed sequential gearbox arrives up to the maximum velocity of over 350 Km/h with an acceleration of 0-100 in 3.2 seconds. The aerodynamic development process was realized in partnership with YSIM, a company with notable experience in F1 and Le mans. The tailor-made interior of the client is covered with all-natural leather prepared with special aniline leather treatment. The incredible soft touch of the leather is achieved thanks to a collaboration with a leader of the fashion/luxury sector. Every aspect of personalization is possible with the infinite options of special material, including exotic leather and precious materials.

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BMW Wants To Turn Your Car Into A HotSpot.


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BMW has launched a 4G LTE hotspot for its cars, giving users high-speed mobile internet on the road.  The device, which works like a router, is designed to give passengers internet access whether using a smartphone, tablet or notebook and can support up to eight devices simultaneously.  It also has a built-in battery pack, meaning that it can be removed from the vehicle and used on the move for up to one hour before recharging.  The device’s range can be adjusted from three meters to up to 10 meters, meaning that the hotspot can stay in the vehicle but users can still access the internet when standing outside of the car.

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“The very fast bit rates and extremely low latency mean that an internet connection supported by the BMW Car Hotspot LTE is often even faster than a PC connection in the home,” says Markus Dietz, Project Manager BMW Car Hotspot LTE Development.Compatible with any new or existing BMW with a BMW telephone docking station, the LTE hotspot works via an LTE-compatible SIM card. Once inserted, each device needs to be registered via an eight-digit code and then it is ready to use.

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However, because the LTE Hotspot also supports NFC (Near Field Communication), if a user’s device supports the technology, simply touching it against the hotspot will authenticate it and establish a high-speed internet connection. BMW claims that this is the first time NFC functionality has been offered in a production car. “Plug and play’ is something of an overworked term, but this is the genuine article,” says Markus Dietz.  But maybe the best feature is that although it is designed to work seamlessly with a BMW car, because it can be connected to a vehicle via USB and has an input for an external power supply, the LTE Hotspot could potentially be used with any vehicle.

Cartier ID Two


Cartier is back in the concept business with the Cartier ID 2. ID stands for idea, ID for Innvoation & Development, and ID for Inspiration & Design. The Cartier ID two, will offer a transparency case to make the wrist that is wearing it to goes along with its mechanism and make it an extansion of self.

The Google Drive.


You have to give it up to Google always trying something new or stealing everyone else’s winning idea. By now I’m sure most of us use or at least have a dropbox account, But with only 2 free gigs of space upon sign up it might not be enough unless you pay to upgrade. According to the official blog post, paid tiers are available for 25 GB, 100 GB or 1 TB storage upgrades, priced at $2.49, $4.99 or $49.99 per month, respectively. The question is will you use a Google Drive or does it look like yet another me-too crappy service from Google?  Only time will tell.