Apotact Labs Takes ‘Gest Controller’ to Kickstarter

Are you a huge fan of the Nintendo Power Glove and wish that you could use it with your Android or iOS device? Well, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon without some electronics hacking on your part but we did see something that may be almost as good. Apotact Labs has brought its new Gest hand gesture controller to Kickstarter in order to fund the production of the device. At the time of writing, it is currently 130% funded with a delivery date about a year out. The Gest uses 15 sensors in each hand to gather data and then send it over a Bluetooth connection to a connected device.

To gather data, the Gest uses accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers. These may sound very familiar and they should because they are the same type of sensors that you can find in your smartphone or wearables. The ability to interact with different apps by just using your hands is a great idea but far from original so time will tell how well Apotact Labs has done with its implementation. Photoshop integration will be there on day one, but it is yet to be seen if it will actually improve workflow or just be a novelty. From the demonstration seen I think I could breeze through it a lot faster with a mouse and some keyboard shortcuts.

If you are interested in getting one you can still get the $149 early bird special for one controller, be fast as when those are gone the price jumps up to $175.

Artificial Skin with a Sense Of Touch Being Developed

The technology behind prosthetic limbs has dramatically evolved over time for the benefit of assisting individuals who have had the misfortune of losing a limb. The next step forward to that is a coined Bionic limb that gives the user something akin to natural human skin. This realization looks to be making significant progress after “funding from the U.S. Department of Defence has allowed several researchers to make progress toward  more humanlike prosthetic hands that offer users a sense of control and touch”.  

It’s a strange one that funding is being allocated from the department of defense with the aim of benefiting humanity instead of the standard artillery. Anyway, scientists from Stanford have outlined a new type of pressure sensor in the form of a flat yet flexible material that could in theory serve as a type of artificial skin layer, which would then fit onto prosthetics. This is very much in the vein of human skin that is fitted over the bone and muscle within a human body, this technique would then in theory allow the wearer to both manipulate and also feel objects, though it’s not the evolution form of natural touch, but rather an artificial replication of the sensation.

Lead researcher Zhenan Bao has outlined that “The sensors send pulses that the brain interprets in order to determine a certain sense of touch. “It’s directly mimicking the biological system”

The “skin” itself is constructed from plastic which is then printed with a waffle pattern to make it compressible. Embedded inside are “carbon nanotubes”, these are tiny rods of pure carbon that conduct electricity which in turn squeezes the material and bring the rods closer together, creating more rapid pulses as the pressure increases.

In essence, this is a fascinating step forward that could hopefully benefit and also assist a person’s life. The ability to feel is an essential part of the human condition, any loss of that is worrying when you think of the potential ramifications. But that is not the end, eventually the scientific community hopes to be able to “channel information from artificial sensors into the peripheral nerves that were once connected to the lost hand”.

Human exploration and understanding of science has achieved a great deal and this is another compelling chapter. Hopefully, this work will achieve more answers and enable further development.

Thank you technologyreview for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of gizmodo

New Prosthetic Restores Sense Of Feeling

Medical technology appears in the news every few weeks, for all kinds of reasons, from being able to control them with a cap placed over your head to giving a man who was unable to walk the ability to do so again. The reasons for this constant stream of news is quite simple, medical technology is developing at an amazing rate, especially those related to giving back something to those who have suffered the loss of a body part or ability to do something with their body. The latest piece of news comes from DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), and it features a little more than a visible result.

Made under the DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics, the latest prosthetic has given someone the ability to feel again after their arm was paralysed due to a spinal cord injury almost a decade ago.

The DARPA project manager, Justin Sanchez, stated that:

“We’ve completed the circuit. Prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by thoughts are showing great promise, but without feedback signals traveling back to the brain it can be difficult to achieve the level of control needed to perform precise movements.”

In the first set of tests, the researchers touched the hands fingers gently while the volunteer was blindfolded. With nearly 100% accuracy he was able to report which mechanical finger was being touched, the description that he provided was that it was as if his own hand was being touched. At one point, in an impromptu experiment, the researchers decided to press two fingers instead of one, breaking any perceived order that could have been guessed, it was at this point where a joke was made in response asking if they were trying to play a trick on him.

With the ability to produce prosthetics at an ever decreasing cost, with even more functionality and now with actual control and feedback, we could soon be looking at prosthetics that are controlled and feeling just like the human body would.

Thank you DARPA for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of DARPA.

7yr Old Girl Gets 3D Printed Robohand – Only Cost $50 to Produce!

3D printing has revolutionized the world of prosthetics, making prototyping and modifications of prosthetics a much quicker process, while also drastically reducing the cost of creating the required components.

After losing her left hand at just 9 months old, now seven years old Faith Lennox just received her new custom-made 3D printed prosthetic. Unlike medial prosthetics, Faith was able to choose her favourite colours for the new lightweight hand.

“E-Nable provides open-source technology for building the hand, Lengsfeld said, making it economical for anyone with the right printer and a set of instructions to create one. Faith’s only costs $50, and when she outgrows it she can easily build a bigger replacement.” said Mark Lengsfeld of E-Nable

It’s amazing how far this kind of technology has developed and we look forward to seeing it put to use in amazing ways such as this, time and time again.

Valve VR Demo Looks Similar to Myst, Only Extremely Detailed

Valve’s virtual reality setup only allowed you to walk in areas the size of small rooms. This is really an issue today, since a lot of titles, especially fantasy ones, come in vast environments full of rich graphics.

The solution seems to come from Cloudhead Games’ The Gallery: Six Elements, which is all about interaction. The demo can be experienced using the HTC Vive’s hand controllers in order to grip all sort of objects, having the objective to fix a creaky machine. However, there is also danger in this quest, and it comes under the shape of a giant tree monster.

“The Gallery: The Six Elements is a first­person fantasy/exploration game built from the ground up for virtual reality, using the Unity engine; incorporating various VR and interaction hardware devices. This title will present a rich narrative experience fuelled by intuitive physical interaction puzzles, nestled within a deeply immersive environment. Drawing from our inspirations of 80′s adventure movies and classic games such as Monkey Island and Myst, the player must journey through foreign and fantastical worlds, collecting elemental powers and items that will aid them in discovering the mystery of the Machine.”

It is said that there are a few different environments in the demo as well, giving the user a lot of places to explore aside from things to collect. Though The Gallery is not yet available, it is said that it will be released along with Valve and HTC’s system at the end of this year.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Dad 3D Printed A Prosthetic Hand For His Son

We already know that 3D printers are cool, they’ve been put to use for imaginative purposes that we didn’t even think of before there were 3D printers and that trend is showing no sign of slowing down. 3D printing really is the next big thing and as prices for the hardware comes down, and the ease of use improves over time, it shouldn’t be long before we are all purchasing a 3D printer.

Paul McCarthy’s son was born without fingers and a real prosthetic could cost around $10,000 and perhaps many times more than that! McCarthy was looking for a functional prosthetic hand for his son Leon when he found an online video from Ivan Owen, an inventor from Washington State.

Ivan created a 3D printed prosthetic hand that anyone could make, McCarthy spent around $2000 on the printer, and around $10 on materials, printed the model and now his son has a working hand and likes to think of himself as a Cyborg.

Not only does the hand work, it also looks really cool and I love the idea that he can customise it over time by printing a different finger or attachment for different tasks and it would only cost him a few dollars.

We also have a lot of respect for Ivan Owen for not placing a patent on such an important design and allowing others to use them on their own 3D printers.

Thank you MSN for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CBS.

Corsair Unleash the Vengeance Extreme – The Worlds Fastest Memory Kit

So you’re in the market for some new memory and you want a kit that’s fast? Well normally you’ll be looking at 2133MHz, or 2400MHz, if you’ve got the need for more speed then there is the option of 2666Mhz or 2800MHz. The question is though, what if this is still not enough? Well if you’re as bonkers as the R&D team at Corsair are, then there is now the option for a 3000MHz kit!

Selecting the IC’s for this extreme kit is no easy feat, and after going through the most rigorous four-stage hand-screening process that Corsair engineers have done, less than 1 in 50 ICs will make the grade and be worthy of taking home on the PCB of one of these kits.  This is not where the validation ends, once the kits have been made, they need to pass performance tests on a select group of Z77 motherboards with an unlocked Ivy Bridge CPU that has the capability to run the kits at their intended speed

“We are focused on helping enthusiasts and overclockers push the boundaries of PC performance,” said Thi La, Senior VP and GM of Memory and Enthusiast Component Products at Corsair. “Our engineering team’s hard work has led to new performance optimization techniques for memory, which we are pleased to debut in our new Vengeance Extreme memory.”

If you’re mad enough to want one of these kits, then sit down first as the price may come as a shock. An 8GB kit with timings of 12-14-14-36 will set you back a cool US$749 and will only be available for a very limited time as the hand made modules are going to be few in numbers. Don’t worry about the question of overclocking as results have already been floating about seeing one of these kits running at 3144MHz overclocked. If overclocking is your game, then Corsair do include on of Kingpin Cooling’s LN2 memory pots for taking the kits to hyper levels of speed.