tech

A Moving Skeleton Made from Plastic

Theo Jansen is so much more than an artist. He is an engineer that gives life to inanimate objects, creating physiology and movement from tubes of plastic. In this short documentary, Theo discusses his latest “animal,” a towering structure that can walk and react to the wind based on designs that mirror muscles, nerves, and a skeleton. Read more about Theo Jansen and his animals.       Featured image is a screenshot from video...

STD Testing: There’s An App for That

Nearly two million people under the age of forty have chlamydia in the United States according to the CDC and yet this disease frequently goes undetected and uncured. Since symptoms can be so minimal, without regular annual testing, many cases go undetected. When left chlamydia is left untreated, it can cause fertility or pregnancy complications for women. Gonorrhea similarly can cause infertility in both men and women or make the patient more susceptible to an HIV infection. Given these risks and statistics, Planned Parenthood has designed a new app, which has been released in California, that allows users to discreetly test for these two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia and gonorrhea, according to a report from NPR. Currently, any California resident over the age of 16 can use the app to purchase an STD kit for $149 that is mailed to the individual directly. After submitting a urine sample through the provided pre-paid return package, users receive their test results sent through the app in just days after mailing their sample. If any results come back positive, the app has an feature that allows users to request a prescription through Planned Parenthood or schedule an appointment for in-office antibiotic treatment. If this pilot project can expand beyond these initial stages, it could significantly help protect young men and women across the country from two dangerous, common,...

Scientists Find A Way to Regrow Limbs

Seeing a limb grow before your eyes sounds exactly like something out of a science fiction movie, but now it may have just become a reality. Biomedical engineering has taken regenerative medicine to a new level of ground breaking. It’s not exactly like a lizard regrowing its tail, but it seems just as cool. A newer technique, according to CBS News, called decellularization, has been used to create a new rat limb from a deceased rat donor. Decellularization is a method where scientist take the extracellular matrix of the donor cells and use that as the scaffold for the new limb. Then, the rats own stem cells were added to the extracellular matrix, and the new limb began to grow. During testing, the new leg had muscles that contracted at 80% the strength of the rat’s other original muscles. This advance in biomedical engineering could potentially help the 185,000 amputations that occur each year. Doctors are hoping that even if full limb regeneration may still be a ways off, that this method can be employed to help people who have had parts of their body damaged by accidents such as burns, or surgical procedures like cancer...

This 19-Year-Old’s Invention is Unbelievable

What were you doing when you were 19? Most teenagers were probably not inventing cutting-edge medical technologies, but Easton LaChappelle had a different idea. He was able to master the software engineering necessary to complete his project within just a few months. With a mastery of technical abilities, Easton’s real goal was to create technology that was also affordable, which was when he turned to 3D printing. According to an article from Reuters, a new, economic, mind-controlled prosthesis has been developed by 19-year-old LaChappelle to improve on current robotic prostheses by reducing cost via 3D printing. The product, Anthromod, utilizes an algorithm that can sense when an increase in force applied to the device is necessary. At a cost of around 600 dollars, LaChappelle hopes to improve affordable access to these types of complex devices. There are multiple prototypes that can each fulfill different needs and the uses of 3D printing continue to be explored to help improve individual’s quality of life. So, how does 3D printing really work? Check out this infographic: And check out the full article from...

Tiny Robot Stitches Up a Wounded Grape

The future of surgery is awesome! We hope the grape made it!

The Future is Here: Controlling Prostheses With Thoughts Alone

In 2009, the National Library of Medicine reported that over 158,000 amputations were performed each year and that number has been and will continue to increase. The use of prosthetic rehabilitation has potential to restore lost locomotive or functional abilities and effectively improve one’s quality of life. However, many prosthetic limbs are extremely limited in their capabilities and overall usefulness, likely contributing to the significant amputee population that don’t use a prosthesis.   Now, amputees can have the ability to control their bionic prosthetic limbs with their minds through the use of tiny implanted myoelectric sensors developed by Icelandic company Ossur, according to a report by Reuters. Researchers and developers from Ossur implanted the tiny sensors in the residual muscle tissue of two amputees to trigger movement in the prosthesis through a receiver. The orthopaedics company says the implant procedure only requires local anaesthesia and is fairly quick and straightforward. Impulses go from the brain into muscles, causing the muscles to contract. The sensors in the muscles pick up the signals from the brain and the signals can move into the prosthetics causing the limb to react as the brain wants. One of the two amputees has been living with the Ossur prosthetic for over a year and the company plans to further assess the technology with clinical trials.   Check out the complete article published by Reuters,...

Apps Bringing Back the House Call

Lack of access to proper medical care is still a prevailing and major issue for the United States today. Three big apps are working on changing that.   If you live in LA or San Francisco… The app for you is: Heal What does it do: At the tap of button a licensed physician will arrive at your house in 20-60 minutes What can they do? Physicians are equipped to diagnose and treat mild to moderate ailments, write a prescription, stitch up a cut When? Every day 8am to 8pm How much $? $99 flat rate Fun fact: The New York Times called it the “Uber for Doctor House Calls”     If you live in New York…  The app for you is: Pager What does it do: In less than two hours a physician can be at your home, office, or hotel What can they do? Pager physicians are board-certified and equipped to diagnose and treat moderate illnesses, mild traumatic injuries, write a prescription, stitch up a cut, and perform physicals When? Every day from 8am to 10pm How much $? First visit is $50, urgent care visits are $200, and standard physicals are $100 Fun fact: Co-founded by a founder of Uber!     If you live… anywhere! The app for you is: Doctor On Demand What does it do: With the click of a button, anyone...