There have been many inspirational stories in the media recently centered on the key role technology has played in helping injured and paralysed people to regain some of their strength and mobility.
The latest case comes from The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California where doctors and technicians have worked to help Stephanie Sablan, a young woman who was left paralyzed from the waist down after an accident.
Along with a company called Berkeley Bionics, the team have managed to create robotic legs called eLEGS, which enable Stephanie to walk when they are fitted over clothing and attached to a large backpack.
A new touchscreen prototype from Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications is able to transfer tactile information to anyone using the screen.
A layer of gel positioned behind the impressive screen is able to mould itself into different textures that the user's fingertips can then feel.
I can imagine this screen being used for a range of purposes, particularly enhancing the user's experience during games. However, I imagine it could also be useful for those who have problems with their sight or children, who are known to learn using all five of their senses.
To the average person the ideas and theories surrounding quantum physics are fascinating yet very confusing. However, Professor David Deutsch of Oxford University has recently pioneered a research project called The Quantum Parallelograph, which aims to explore these ideas and somehow visualise what is meant by the notion of quantum physics and multiple realities.
A user must set how far from their current reality they'd like to explore and then by using the Internet the device gathers information about the supposed "alternate reality" and prints out a description of what the user's parallel counterpart is up to.
Via Yanko Design.
Every few months there's a new diet fad in the media that's allegedly helping various celebrities lose weight and look fabulous. Many people latch onto these trends even if they prove to be incredibly restrictive and potentially dangerous to their health.
Now there's talks that scientists are working on a new crazy way to help us all lose weight which involves infecting overweight patients with a virus.
Gone are the days of associating Girl Scouts with boring tasks and forest adventures, as a group based in Iowa have recently built an award-winning prosthetic device.
The group of girls aged between 11 and 13 years have recently won the First Lego League (FLL) Global Innovation Award with their new invention, which is essentially a prosthetic hand device called BOB-1. They began building it in order to help a three year old girl without fingers on her right hand take part in everyday activities and now when she uses the device she can write and draw.
After winning the award, the girls have received $20,000 to patent the device, so who knows how widespread the invention could eventually become or what else the girls will dream up in the future...
Researchers from the University of Southern California have successfully created an artificial functioning synapse circuit, the same as those which allow electrical impulses to be passed between neurons deeps within our brains.
This is a particularly big development and means that scientists are now one step closer to creating larger, synthetic parts of the brain.
In the long-run this will not only be a huge technological feat, but will help those who have suffered brain injuries and work towards creating more intelligent systems and robots.
Teleportation has been rife in sci-fi fiction for years. Look at the way the Star Trek team casually teleport themselves around the galaxy on a near hourly basis, or the devastating effects of teleportation on Seth Brundle in Cronenburg's 1986 classic The Fly.
But, it's something that scientists here in the real world have yet to master, much to the dismay of those who have to sit in heavy traffic every morning as part of their daily commute, or people who can't stand to travel by plane.
However, earlier this week Discovery News reported that scientists in Australia and Japan have successfully teleported "packets of light", so surely the next step is teleporting us to the office in the morning, right?
The Singularity is Near. Humans may soon be able to control robots with our minds. Scientists at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and the University of Pittsburgh have already shown that monkeys can control a robotic arm with their minds. And if a monkey can do it, . . .
Funding has been granted to start human clinical trials.
Via CNET News.
We have witnessed steady strides in the fight against cervical cancer. Vaccines Gardasil and Cervarix are now available for girls to protect them from the human papilloma virus (HPV), the main cause of cervical cancer. Unfortunately the vaccines are only given to young girls. They also don't protect women from every form of HPV which means there's still a need for Pap Smear testing to attempt to catch the disease early.
Every year, millions of women visit their gynecologists and endure the discomfort of the Pap Smear. After the test is complete, there's often weeks of waiting for the results, leaving women to wonder if they'll become part of the frightening statistics on cervical cancer. British medical diagnostic, Zilco is working to alleviate some of the stress with its new device that can conduct a relatively quick and painless pap.
One day soon, period pain might be a thing of the past thanks to a new drug currently being tested. This possible boon to womankind is being tested and developed by Vantia Therapeutics. Designated VA111913, the pill, taken orally, could potentially take the place of current methods of alleviating menstrual cramps including aspirin.
According to recent trials, the pill levels out the muscle contractions that are the main cause of painful cramps. With Phase I testing deemed a success, Phase II of the testing will include "128 women aged between 18 and 25 in the UK and the US." The results of the testing should be ready for review sometime in 2010.
If testing is successful, the drug could be available in as little as four years. Until then, women the world over will have to grin and bear it and keep their fingers crossed.