Resilience Project Reveals Genetic Superheroes

When people study and wonder about their genetics, they often think about their history. So what happens when science tells us about the history that could have become true? This is what’s happened with the resilience project revealing not just one but thirteen genetic superheroes.

The resilience project was designed as a way of studying over half a million genomes, identifying any genetic resistance that the applicants may have had. As it turns out the 13 genetic superheroes had childhood diseases that would have resulted in their untimely death, the only twist in this story was that they didn’t pass away, instead growing into strong adults.

So what about contacting people with these superhero genes? Imagine being able to take further samples and track down more about their genetic sequences and the resilience that has saved their lives. Sadly the forms involved with signing up didn’t pass on details such as names or contact information, meaning that while we know they exist, we don’t know who the superheroes are, and even they don’t know who is a genetic superhero.

With the ability to expand on the project, the resilience project is looking to recruit over a million additional people for the study, hopefully, this time with contact information so that results like this raise more than hope and curiosity.

Fitbit Used to Save Someone’s Life

People these days like using technology for a wide range of abilities, from playing a game to tracking your morning run. Using technology to track your activities has become a big thing, with smart watches and sports wristbands alike offering the ability to track and monitor your actions, a feature that may have just allowed the Fitbit to save someone’s life.

When he was submitted to the emergency ward of Our Lady of Lourdes Medical center in Camden, doctors were alarmed to discover the 42-year old had an irregular and fast heartbeat. These properties are often those which can trigger a stroke, and could have been chronic or caused by a seizure, if it was chronic, the traditional treatment for the fast heartbeat would have triggered a stroke.

Back in the hospital, the staff noticed the man was wearing nothing other than a Fitbit, a device designed to help track people’s health. In this case, it was the heartbeat monitor that helped inform the doctors that the issue wasn’t chronic, allowing the staff to treat the condition safely knowing that the treatment wouldn’t cause a stroke.

While Fitbits and alternative technologies are often used by doctors to help keep track and monitor long-term health conditions, this is the first time we’ve seen the technology directly used to save someone’s life.

Does Your Business Card Have An ECG Built In?

So you find someone who wants to do business, how would you go about advertising your company way after you’ve even met? Some people will give you an email address or phone number while the most prepared will have a nice and shiny business card waiting for your hand before you’ve even broken eye contact. You can get all kinds of business cards, plastic or card and some are even USB memory sticks in disguise. What if you are in a specialist career like a cardiologist? Why not have an ECG card?

Designed by a company titled MobilECG, the latest card has two sensors that can measure your readings just like an actual medical ECG machine. By placing your two thumbs on the provided finger pads, you will get an ECG reading just like those shown on TV. While it isn’t designed to be a diagnostic tool, as clearly stated on the card, the concept is a novel one.

Currently costing $29 per card, the current design is there to merely gauge interest in the product and you can even find the code available for free on the open source repository site GitHub. If that isn’t enough you can even find the schematics for the card here.

Japan Display Conveys Prototype 8K Screen Within a 17-inch LCD

Recent years have seen a substantial improvement of resolution within screens at a price point which has dropped significantly, from average consumer availability of 1080p Televisions to the new breed of 4K sets which are pushed to market at a decent price compared to previous developments. But as we all know, 4k is not good enough, we want even higher res, well some of us, for me, computer games and films benefit from the increased detail level, but I am sceptical when the time comes to implement a higher detail level for day-to-day TV.

Another disadvantage is in the form of a gigantic screen which is needed for 4K or even 8k viewing, well, maybe not considering a company by the name of “Japan Display” have announced plans for a 17.3 inch 8K screen. According to the prototype specs, this innovation runs at a smooth yet fast response rate of 120Hz with resolution stats of 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H) pixels. The display itself is a familiar Liquid Crystal Display (LCS) module and is “based on low temperature poly silicon (LTPS) technology with true 8K pixels (RGB stripe arrangement), thus realizing high-definition (510ppi) images”

The compact yet powerful nature of the screen holds potential uses which include implementations within the medical environment and also fun aspects that include game and video image production. Below is a display image of the likely vision of the product and also full details of the prototype specs.

Display Mode LTPS TFT, transmissive IPS mode
Screen size (diagonal) 17.3-inch (43.9cm)
Resolution format 7,680(W) x RGB x 4,320(H)
Pixel density 510ppi
Luminance 500cd/m2
Contrast ratio 2000:1
Viewing angle >176degree(CR>100:1)
Frame rate 120Hz

The display will be exhibited at the “NHK/JEITA booth on October 7 – 10, 2015 during CEATEC JAPAN 2015 held at Makuhari Messe, Japan, in collaboration with NHK”.

One can only wait for further details of this exciting innovation in display technology, although, god only knows as to the price point which JDI have in mind, hopefully it will be reasonable, wait!, who am I kidding, you would probably need to sell a kidney for one of those. Sounds funny now, but remember those reports which circulated in 2012 which stated that a Chinese student sold an organ for an iPad, so no one do that.

Thank you j-display for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of sunetfon       

3D Printed Sternum And Ribs For Cancer Patient

3D Printing has taken off in recent years, with everything from toys to houses being designed and built by anyone with a computer (and a big enough printer). Some of the biggest advantages of the 3D printer are quite simply those provided to medical sciences, with advances allowing people to print items that could help people in ways unthought of several years ago, such as a 3D printed skull for a 3-year-old girl in china. The latest though is another step, with a set of ribs and sternum being printed for a 54-year-old man.

Medical company Anatomics and CSIRO’s 3D printing facility developed the technology required to 3D print the titanium sternum and ribcage implant that was used. In this instance, the gentlemen had several bones removed that had been affected by a cancerous tumour, called chest wall sarcoma.

Crediting the surgery as a success, Surgeon José Aranda stated that “to his knowledge this is the first 3D titanium printed sternum (made through) custom-made processes”. What this means is that in place of a regular sheet of titanium the implant was actually constructed and designed before being built, making it an easier fit and more accurate to the original autonomy of the gentlemen involved.

Thank you Tech Spot for the information and the image.

Google Health Now Contains Over 900 Illnesses Information

Google is developing a lot of tools and technologies that are said to be shaping the future. From their AR glasses, Google Glass, to their self driving cars, Google is not staying with just the internet when it comes to what they develop. One of their software pieces is titled Google Health, and surprise surprise it helps people with their health. I say it helps people with their health, it helps people know and understand the symptoms and treatments related to a particular ailment; Google has recently expanded this system to include over 900 illnesses and their symptoms.

The concept is simple, if you hear about an illness or think you may have one you can search it up by its name or even the symptoms and then using this you can quickly find out about treatments and what is actually happening. Google has been keen to make sure this information is correct and has consulted and is continuing to communicate with Doctors and Specialists as they expand and update the system.

Among the chief users of the system are intact doctors and other medical professionals, with doctors even requesting a new feature which lets you print off the information about the illness, meaning you can hand into your doctor the information you have regarding treatments and what may have caused it.

I know we keep getting told to avoid self-diagnosis but if it’s done right, which this app aims to help with, the effect on the health services could lessened to just dealing with situations, not discovering what they could be.

Thank you Google for the information and the image.

World’s First 3D-Printed Pill Approved By US Authorities

Damn I really love the concept behind this, in what would be a world first, the US Food and Drug Administration has given the go-ahead for a 3D-printed pill to be produced. I envisaged many things which could possibly be printed using this technique, but not a pill.

The new drug, has been coined Spritam, whether this was inspired by the word “Sprit” is open to interpretation, this drug has been developed by Aprecia Pharmaceuticals to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. The company also plans to produce many different types of medical drugs using its very own 3D platform. This technique also has other advantages including the ability to print layers of medication more precisely so that dosages are even more accurate than before.

The most compelling aspect lies within production; the standard procedure is to manufacture medications in factories before shipping them to pharmacies, doctors and hospitals. If you are able to print them, this opens up the ability to create production lines nearer the patient. This also means in theory, doctors will not need to wait too long for medications to arrive which in turn would assist patients.

Spritam is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2016, according to Aprecia. Exciting times ahead if this technique makes it to market and hopefully, it will be available to everyone, not just for the wealthy or patients willing to pay over the odds.

Breaking Bad would be a different TV series if they 3D printed everything.

Thank You BBC for providing us with this information

Technological Breakthrough Could Replace Injections for Vaccinations

A team of scientists have discovered a new way to administer vaccinations without the need for traditional injections. This revolutionary procedure is less intrusive and operates through a layer which dissolves into the skin. Subsequently, this should virtually eliminate contamination, reduce medical costs and require less specialized staff. Furthermore, the research paper suggests that the process will become more effective than hypodermic needles. Professor Nakagawa, one of the researchers said,

“We were excited to see that our new microneedle patch is just as effective as the needle-delivered flu vaccines, and in some cases even more effective,” 

“We have shown that the patch is safe and that it works well. Since it is also painless and very easy for non-trained people to use, we think it could bring about a major change in the way we administer vaccines globally,”

This new form of immunization entitled, MicroHyala was tested on a sample of 40 volunteers and subjected to 3 stands of influenza before applying the vaccination.  The results showed that those using the MicroHyala system responded positively and experienced enhanced immunity levels versus other patients. Additionally, there were no instances of allergic reaction which may indicate the procedure is safe for widespread use. However, the sample size is very small so there’s no definitive proof that this wasn’t simply down to generic strength.

In theory, the painless application should reduce disease as patients are more willing to undergo this new method to fight off flu symptoms. Also, advanced training isn’t needed which means third world countries should be able to administer the microneedles on a large scale without being a huge medical expense.

Thank you TechTimes for providing us with this information.

Did Batman Turn From Superhero to ‘Super Murderer’ in the Arkham Knight?

Batman is considered a superhero and was created with that intent in mind. We see that in the comics and movies created so far, but what about the games? Sure, they need to be tweaked a bit to get players more interested in the game and make it ‘sellable’, but how far would you go to change that?

According to a medical examiner, as well as some screenshots, it looks like non-lethal Batman just turned serial killer in the latest Batman: Arkham Knight title. Dr. M. Hussain points out that some of the moves pictured below can cause “damage to the spine and ribs” and other lethal injuries.

“The amount of force required to kick someone across the room would be very high and can cause damage to organs.” Dr. Hussain noted.

On top of that, some of the vehicle collisions and rocket ‘punches’ displayed below simply speak for themselves. Don’t take our word for it though. If you played the game, you may be familiar with some scenes or actions that Batman performs, where it is clearly visible that his opponent(s) have no chance of survival. Here are some examples below:

I know we are talking about a game here where “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”, but let’s be honest here. We want to know Batman for who he was created to be, right? And as far as I know, Batman did not change his approach toward villains. What’s your thought on this? Let us know in the comments below.

Thank you GamesRadar for providing us with this information

66-Year-Old Man’s Rare Heart Condition Cured by 3D Printing

A specialized team of Doctors at UCLA recently performed a medical marvel thanks to the capabilities of 3D printing. One of their patients, Richard Whitaker had been suffering from a rare long-term heart condition and conventional procedures posed a significant risk of death. Whitaker’s suffering was caused by congestive heart failure which led to swollen ankles and extreme fatigue. In simple terms, his heart wasn’t circulating enough blood and this restricted the lungs’ air flow. Why? The pulmonary arteries were shockingly large and Doctors could only resort to an extreme space-age solution to save his life.

The Doctors at UCLA enlisted the help of Materialise to create a 3D printed model of Whitaker’s heart and test a variety of materials. This was a very unusual process and it was unknown which material would create the best replacement. A mock up was constructed to see the viability of the operation. The end result was a combination of silicone and harder materials to accurately depict the heart’s tissue. This graft was made through a CT scan of Whitaker’s chest to produce the best results.

So how does the operation actually work? The team had to carefully feed a valve and stent through a vein in Whitaker’s groin, up to his heart, using a catheter. Once this procedure was complete, the blood flow moved in a single direction and transported the proper amount of oxygen. Miraculously, Whitaker was ready to be discharged within a mere 4 days and elated with the results. He said “I didn’t miss a beat and was able to get back to my life quickly.”

It’s difficult to deduce if the operation through traditional means would have been successful and once again shows how 3D printing is possibly one of the most groundbreaking inventions humankind has ever devised. I’m happy to see Mr. Whitaker in good health and hope 3D modelling of organs will become cheaper, and more widespread to help those with chronic medical condition. The possibilities of 3D printing are endless and perhaps the future isn’t as bleak as it seems.

Thank you 3D Print for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of UCLA Health Science.

Watch Out! Too Much Candy Crush Can Break Your Tendons!

Are you playing a lot of Match-3 games? Like every day of the week? Is it Candy Crush? If the answer to all previous questions is ‘Yes’, then you might want to know that you may already suffer from ruptured tendons or will do so in the near future!

According to a medical report from JAMA (via Pix11), a 29-year old man suffered from a ruptured tendon after playing the Candy Crush Saga game all day for about 6 or 8 months in a row.

” A 29-year-old, right hand–dominant man presented with chronic left thumb pain and loss of active motion from playing a Match-3 puzzle video game on his smartphone all day for 6 to 8 weeks. On physical examination, the left extensor pollicis longus tendon was not palpable, and no tendon motion was noted with wrist tenodesis.” the observations from JAMA state.

Ouch! that must have hurt. But wait, it didn’t? The physicians stated in their conclusions and observations that the more he played, the less pain he suffered. What?

“Future research should consider whether pain reduction is a reason some individuals play video games excessively, manifest addiction, or sustain injuries associated with video gaming.”

So if you got your thumb ruptured by the mobile game named Candy Crush, then it’s safe to say that the medical condition can be called ‘Candy Crush Thumb?’. Well, according to a report, that’s what people are calling it now.

This is a scary thing to consider. How about you, are you playing a lot of puzzle games on your smartphone and do you feel any pain (or don’t feel anything at all)?

Thank you Pix11 for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of AppGuru and video courtesy of YouTube

Instant Wound-Sealing Glue Will Make Band-Aids Obsolete

Two new products are about to change the way we deal with wounds as much as the band-aid did in 1920 when it was invented by Earle Dickson. The first product is the MAR Glue created by the fittingly named company, Medical Adhesive Revolution. The MAR Glue is intended to seal cut wounds, both internal and external and it will be available to civilian doctors and surgeons.

Most surgical glues on the market work by accelerating clotting where the MAR glue will fuse tissue together instead and the body heals itself without any clots in the way. It will dry in just 30 seconds, it is very flexible, it can be stored at any temperature, and it’s even biodegradable. Whether it is inside or outside the body, it will simply be absorbed. It can be programmed for a 30-day or a 90-day cycle depending on the type of wound.

“Ideally there will be two types of glue, one that will close topical sutures, and one that can be applied directly to organs. The No. 1 application for MAR glue is during cardiovascular surgery. When you cut an artery, bleeding occurs big time, and if you’re able to glue the wound and stop the bleeding, it’s a huge benefit.”

The glue is still waiting for an FDA approval, but it already left well-experienced surgeons speechless when they witnessed a severe organ bleeding stop in just a few seconds.

RevMedx is also ready with their take on future wound healing with their X Stat, a device that instantly plugs bullet wounds. It looks more like a tampon than a surgical tool, and some of the inspiration for it also came from it. These type of wounds are typically treated with externally applied pressure and gauze. X Stat instead fills the wound with small specially engineered sponges that apply the pressure internally in the wound by expanding up to 15 times. It is one of those inventions that makes one wonder why it hasn’t been invented a long time ago. So far it’s only available for the military, but the company behind it has hopes for civil use as well.

Thanks to New York Mag for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Medical Adhesive Revolution and RevMedx


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.

Watch: Blind Man Uses Bionic Eye to See Again

Allen Zderared lost his sight more than 10 years ago, but thanks to new technology that has led to the development of a ‘bionic eye’, he can now ‘see’ again. The Guardian captured the moment he saw his wife for the first time in a decade – an incredible moment that only technology could make possible.

The technology in question allows Zderared to “see shapes and human forms” – something that many of us would consider limited, but incredible for a man who has seen nothing for so long.

Be sure to watch the video below, it really is quite a moving moment.

Source: The Guardian

UK’s NHS Breaches Data 6 Times a Day, Including on Social Media

Privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch has conducted research revealing a startling number of sensitive data breaches by the UK’s National Health Service.

On average, data including sensitive medical records, is breached 6 times a day. They discovered that there had been 7,255 reported breaches in the past 3 years.

“The information held in medical records is of huge personal significance and for details to be wrongly disclosed, maliciously accessed or lost is completely unacceptable. With an increasing number of people having access to patients’ information, the threat of data breaches will only get worse.” – Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch.

The report revealed the rather frightening fact that there were at least 50 examples of patient information being posted on social networking sites. Another 143 cases involved staff accessing data for “personal reasons”.

Source: The Next Web

Music Proven to be More Effective than Drugs When Fighting Alzheimer and Dementia

Modern medicine nowadays tries to ‘fix’ us with pills and drugs, even when the latter type of medication proves to be ineffective. A natural phenomenon that we tend to medicalize is aging, a process we all have to face sooner or later. Statistics show that around 1.5 million people are institutionalized in the United States alone, 80% of which have been separated because they are suffering from Alzheimer or other forms of dementia.

For these people, a normal day starts and ends with powerful psychotropic drugs, with the treatment not aimed at curing the disease, but at making the patients more malleable and manageable. Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on these drugs annually, providing limited relief and often comes with significant side effects. However, in this particular case, non-pharmaceutical interventions has proven to be more effective. Whether it is access to companion animals, dietary supplements, memory training or even art therapy, science has proven that the latter provide meaningful benefits without the cost or the dangers of drugs.

One of the most significant of all non-pharmaceutical approaches to Alzheimer and dementia patients has proven to be music. The concept is said to be very simple and involving a simple MP3 player, such as an iPod, and a special playlist for each patient. The benefits resulting from this approach are said to include better memory, improved mood, decreed pain, increased involvement in the world and enhanced well-being. 2014 Sundance Film Festival Audience Choice Award-winning documentary film by Michael Rossato-Bennett, Alive Inside (video below), is shown to provide a testament to the power of reconnecting dementia sufferers with their deepest sense of self.


Music is said to be a side door into a part of the mind that is relatively undamaged by dementia. People are said to process music with almost every part of the brain and music with personal meaning can promote extremely strong responses. Clinical studies have demonstrated that it is possible for personalized music to have a greater effect than medication and that it can even trigger long-term memories. It is said that there is currently no drug on the market that can help a person reconnect with their vital essence the way music does.

However, the practices shown in the documentary are yet to be considered as real-life effective treatment for Alzheimer or dementia patients. Nonetheless, this does not stop family members from using the powerful tool of personalized music with their loved ones.

Thank you The Daily Beast for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of The Daily Beast

Australian University 3D Printing Body Parts for Medical Schools

There is a growing need for dead bodies in medical science, but since the profession is focused on saving lives and helping people live longer, there are less cadavers stacking up for medical research than required… which when you think about it, is not really a bad thing. Fortunately for medical researchers and scientists, a team at Monash University in Australia has a solution to the problem, 3D print the body parts required for their research!

The university has just announced the availability of their first commercially available kit, which comes with 3D printed anatomical body parts for education and training purposes. The 3D Printed Anatomy Series doesn’t use human tissue, but does come complete with printed limbs, chest, abdomen, head and neck.

“Many medical schools report either a shortage of cadavers, or find their handling and storage too expensive as a result of strict regulations governing where cadavers can be dissected” said Professor Paul McMenamin in a statement.

The obvious advantage here is that parts are reusable, store for a long time compared to a dead body, are cheaper to obtain, can be produced on demand and dispatched around the world. Of course they’re not ideal for all kinds of research, but it’s certainly going to help and pretty much any medical school with a 3D printer could start producing their own models as required.

Thank you Venture Beat for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Venture Beat.

Certain Farts Can Prevent Cancer, Strokes and Dementia Say Scientists?!

No that isn’t a typo in the title, a team of scientists are proving once again that they have a little too much time on their hands, but on the plus side, perhaps something good came out of their research. According to scientists at Exeter University, the smell of flatulence could help avoid cancer, strokes, dementia and even heart attacks! While not exclusively related to breaking wind, their research is more focused on the way our body reacts to certain gasses.

Hydrogen Sulfide is one of the gases produced by bacteria as it breaks down food in the guy, for the most part it’s actually toxic in large doses, but the amount created in our bodies is enough to actually help protect cells and fight illness.

Check out the statement below from Professor Matt Whiteman from the University of Exeter Medical School.

“When cells become stressed by disease, they draw in enzymes to generate minute quantities of hydrogen sulfide. This keeps the mitochondria ticking over and allows cells to live. If this doesn’t happen, the cells die and lose the ability to regulate survival and control inflammation.

We have exploited this natural process by making a compound, called AP39, which slowly delivers very small amounts of this gas specifically to the mitochondria.

Our results indicate that if stressed cells are treated with AP39, mitochondria are protected and cells stay alive.”

So next time someone throws you a look of disgust for dropping one, just let them know you’re trying to save them from cancer.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Remote Control Contraceptive Being Developed by The Gates Foundation

A new project is being funded by the Gates Foundation that could end the need to take a daily contraceptive pill. Instead of taking one pill a day, their project could result in you taking one pill that lasts 16 years! It seems like complete over kill for a tablet to last so long, but it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Using a single smart capsule which releases the required drug over time means you only need to take it once. The capsule can respond to a remote wireless signal from something like a dedicated hand scanner to enable, disable or alter the treatment dosage when you visit the doctors.

The project is already well underway and they hope to start preclinical testing in 2015, with a goal of reaching the market in 2018.

Obviously there are hacking concerns and other issues with carrying a 16 year dose of a powerful hormone in your system, so a lot of things have to be done right before this becomes commercially viable, but it’s an interesting approach that could pave the way for some radical changes in medicine.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of The Verge.

3D Printing Aids Surgeons to Save Five Year Old Boys Life

3D printing is once again showing how it can be a life changing piece of technology after a team of surgeons in Spain used their 3D printers to help save the life of a 5-year old cancer patient. The boy was suffering from neuroblastoma, which meant that he needed to have a tumour removed from around his stomach. Unfortunately after two failed attempts the surgeons were at a loss and couldn’t save the boy.

“We tried the surgery twice but we failed because we could not access,” head surgeon Jaume Mora said at a press conference Wednesday. “Instead of surrendering, we tried to find a solution.”

The team at Hospital Sant Joan de Deu in Barcelona and the team at CIM Foundation at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia joined forces to create a 3D printed replica of the boy’s tumour, allowing the surgeons to practice the procedure. The extra training on a simulated stomach and tumour allowed the surgeons to precisely learn how to deal with the patient and just 1.5 weeks after they were able to successfully remove the tumour from the boy’s body.

The surgery went so well that the boy will not even need any follow-up surgeries, and doctors were so impressed with their final results that they commissioned 3D printed models for two other patients.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of CNET.

Boy Receives 3D Printed Card Playing Prosthetic from e-NABLE

The team at e-NABLE have been working hard to help many people, mostly children, who require prosthetic devices. They’ve been custom making a multitude of prosthetics on a volunteer basis to allow people to do many things we take for granted. e-NABLE have created several models of 3D printed hands that have allow children to play games, throw and catch balls, pick up objects and more. Some of these children were just in need of replacements, lower-cost solutions or very specific solutions that allowed them the joys of using both hands.

The hands and arms they’ve created are all robotic, using mostly 3D printed parts that the volunteers crate for them after they receive the patients measurements, and in most cases the 3D printed solutions are working better than traditional prosthetic devices which often cost tens of thousands of dollars to receive.

Nancy messaged the team about her son Keegan, one of the users of their printed prosthetic hands which has enabled him the use of both hands to live a more involving life. However, the team are still making adjustments to the prosthetic and have even created a special card-playing hand for him so that he can play games like Uno, Go Fish and more with his friends. Before the adjustments, he had to keep his cards in a pile on the floor, sifting through them with one hand on each go, which was obviously frustrating for him. So his mother sent a request back to the team at e-NABLE.

“I was wondering if anyone has come up with a design so that the kids could hold cards,” asked Nancy to the volunteers of e-NABLE late last week. “Keegen always has a difficult time playing Uno, Go Fish and more because he can’t see all of his cards at once. He keeps them in a pile and has to look through it every turn. It would be really cool and functional.”

Shortly after she contacted them, the team responded.

“I would be glad to design something,” responded e-NABLE member Bob Roth. “This is the type of project that I want to help with. You could get him one of those circular card holders two and a half inches in diameter. you can fasten it to his socket and he could hold his cards in his hand. I’ve seen them in stores. you could fasten it with a Velcro strap”

A bit of hot glue, some velcro and a few hours later, Keegan can now play his favourite card games with his friends and family. It might not sound like a big change, but it’s great to see how quickly 3D printed prosthetics can be adapted to their users needs thanks to the way it was designed. Need longer fingers to operate a certain device, print longer fingers, print a baseball mitt hand, a analogue stick and controller grip hand, change the overall size as the child grows older, and all at a significantly reduced cost.

With over 1000 members now part of the e-NABLE group, this is just the start of something truly awesome.

Thank you 3DPrint for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of 3DPrint and e-NABLE.

Science Fiction Reality With Mind Controlled Bionic Hand

Ian Burkhart became paralysed after a swimming accident, but may now benefit from modern medical science as he has become the first person to benefit from a mind controlled bionic hand. The bionic device is controller using a microchip that was inserted into his brain and the first tests left him able to open and close his fist, even going as far as picking up a spoon! This may not sound like much to you and me, but for someone who is paralysed, this must have been freaking awesome.

With millions of people in the world suffering from a multitude of mobility problems, this technology could open up a whole new world for them, even going as far as letting them live a normal life once again, or at the least become more independent at tasks most of us take for granted.

The Neurobridge technology was created by doctors at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The chip reads a patients thoughts and transmits a replacement signal which the patients body can no longer generate on its own. The big revelation here is that patients are using their own body, a big shift from previous methods that have required the use of robotic prosthetics.

“Today was great. To be able to open and close my hand and do those complex movements that I haven’t been able to do for four years was great. Physically, it was a foreign feeling. Emotionally it was definitely a sense of hope and excitement to know that it’s possible.” said Ian when speaking with CBS

Plugging in the chip to a computer is actually like jacking into the matrix, a cable running from the patients head to a computer which then decodes the required thoughts and translates them into signals that are then sent to electrodes on a sleeve, causing the muscles in the hand to respond and move in the way the patient wishes.

Thank you Telegraph for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Telegraph.

“Hands-Free Automatic Sperm Extractor” So Much Nope [SFW]

As if you need to be told what that bit is for…

Many of us these days are obsessed with how technology can improve our health, with things such as mobile apps to track our workouts, advances in scanning technology to monitor our well being and new medial aids to help doctors diagnose and cure a multitude of things. Some are cool and hip to use, others, not so much.

It can be embarrassing enough going to the doctors for some things, but what if your doctors asked you to have sex with an automatic sperm extractor? I think I’d rather walk out of the hospital and take my chances that my illness would simply get better on its own. Yet this thing is actually in place in Chinese hospitals, I’m not one to judge, but when people warned me about Chinese medicine, they may have been referring to this.

I’m not sure what is stranger, the fact that this thing exists, of the fact this is the second gadget this week that involves the use of your penis… a bizarre reminder of the world we live in.

Video is safe for work, although you may get some strange looks for watching a video of a sexified Dalek.

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Thank you Sciencedump for providing us with this information.

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3-D Printed Casts Set to Speed Up Bone Recovery After Break or Fracture

Since its early days 3D printing has come one heck of a long way, both in terms of its physical abilities, but also the cost of manufacturing along with the cost of purchasing the required hardware. Some examples of where 3D printing has made huge breakthroughs includes NASA utilising it on the space station to print out spare components, manufacturers using it to print bespoke products and in the latest twist we are now seeing it put into the medical environment.

Although it’s still in the prototype stage at this moment in time, the 3D printed cast – which is printed in the exact dimensions of the person needing to where it – has an open frame build, offering better air circulation around the skin and also includes ultrasound emitters to produce low intensity ultrasound pulses known as LIPUS to speed the bone regrowth.

Like many things in their prototype stages the LIPUS technology has seen a mixed bag of results with some seeing more benefit than other and in some cases the benefit was so small it was hard to justify the additional cost of going down this path. That said though, the 3D printed cast has proved to be very popular, with a more fashionable design, lighter build and as the cost of producing 3D printed items comes down, the cost of producing these one-off casts will become more cost-effective.

Until clinical studies have shown that the use of LIPUS is continually more beneficial than using a traditional plaster cast, we will have to sit in expectation. Either way, with this technology not really possible with traditional casts, as soon as we see LIPUS spread out into the wide world we’ll see the sci-fi looking casts become a reality.

Source: IFLS

NASA & GRoK Technologies Working On Star Trek Style Healing Devices

Anyone who has seen an episode of Star Trek will no doubt be familiar with the healing devices they used in the show, simply shine the non-invasive device on the skin and BAM! You’re healed. They have a little device to scan over your skin that would heal cuts, burns, scars, fractures and many other injuries and it’s this technology that has sparked the imagination of NASA and Houston-based company GRoK Technologies.

“It’s not just science fiction anymore. All indications are that 21st century life sciences will change dramatically during the next several decades, and GRoK is working to define the forefront of a new scientific wave.” said GRoK’s founder and CEO Moshe Kushman

NASA are also keen to push this technology to help with the potential regeneration of bone and muscle tissue during space flight, and GRoK will be taking the first steps by trying to create BioReplicates, a 3D printed human tissue that could be used to test cosmetics, drugs and other products for efficacy and toxicity. On one hand ending the need for animal testing and on the other improving test results by testing on something that actually represents human tissue.

Next up is Scionic, a technology that GRoK say could result in “development of medical devices designed to target musculoskeletal pain and inflammation in humans and animals noninvasively and without the use of pharmaceuticals.” and it is this technology, the Scionic, that mimics the behaviour of the Star Trek medical devices.

“NASA is interested in the potential these technologies present for regenerating bone and muscle. [Astronauts] are susceptible to developing osteopenia, which is a condition arising from the loss of bone and muscle mass and bone density.” Said NASA in a press release.

They haven’t got any products just yet, but the point is that they’re actively pushing to make this technology happen. The only way we’re going to have super-advanced medical equipment in the future is if someone starts planning and experimenting now and that’s exactly what GRoK and NASA have begun to do.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information.

Bionic Hand Connected To Man’s Nerves Returns Sense Of Touch

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute in Lausanne and Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Italy have reported that a bionic hand has been successfully wired into the nerves of a man’s amputated arm, allow him to feel sensations of touch in real-time via the prosthetic!

“The sensory feedback was incredible, I could feel things that I hadn’t been able to feel in over nine years. When I held an object, I could feel if it was soft or hard, round or square.” said Dennis Aabo Sørensen, the Danish man who underwent this ground breaking procedure.

This isn’t the first time touch has been conveyed from a prosthetic, but it’s certainly the most advanced one so far, especially as far as the user is concerned as it gives much more feedback. Sørensen said that his standard prosthetic was not wired into his nerves and he had to literally watch it all the time when using it as he would likely crush whatever it was holding. However, his new arm gives him feedback like our hand does, so he can feel that pressure naturally, rather than have to gauge it by eye.

Unfortunately he had to give up his new bionic arm after just a month due to it just being a clinical study and they apparently need the arm back to try on other patients. It’s still in the early stages of testing in the real world, but for Sørensen, it’s likely been one incredible month.

Thank you Gigaom for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Gigaom.

3D Printed Artificial Liver May Soon Be A Reality

3D printing seems to turn up a major innovation almost every week, and the prospect of a 3D printed liver is one of the most incredible ones so far. Being able to create the vital organ without the need for a donor could obliterate waiting lists and save a lot of lives.

A company called Organovo has already managed to create a working liver using 3D printing, which was kept alive for 40 days in the lab. The main issue was keeping it alive longer as there was no fresh source of blood to the cells, 3D printing has (until now) been tricky when it comes to printing the veins and arteries needed to keep the liver working naturally. Using fibroblasts and endothelial cells to create the system, the company says they can now print at just 500 microns.

The company isn’t the only one making the effort here, with a prize of $1 million up for grabs to the first team who create a working 3D printer, not to mention the fame that will go with achieving such a feat. The team predicts they will achieve the task next year and we don’t doubt them one bit, 2014 is going to be an incredible year for 3D printing.

Thank you T3 for providing us with this information.