Tongue-Controlled Wheelchair System
Researchers have refined a system that allows people with tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs) to control their wheelchair with their tongue.
The system, called Tongue Drive System (TDS), consists of a headset that holds sensors just outside the cheeks and a barbell-shaped, magnetic tongue piercing.
The headset’s sensors detected the changes in the magnetic field caused by the tongue changing position in the mouth, then relayed the information to an iPod that sent the commands to the paired, powered wheelchair.
The system debuted last year, but now has been streamlined with the elimination of the then-required dental retainer.
U-CAT Turtle-bot Explores Shipwrecks
The U-CAT robot was developed to explore shipwrecks, where its small, turtle-inspired body can squeeze into places too tight or dangerous for humans to venture.
Instead of the typical propellers, the U-CAT is equipped a camera that collects footage of the wreck for later study and four flippers that allow it to move forward and backward as well as turn in place and hover. The choice of flippers was an important key in the development of the robot, because they enable it to move through the environment without disturbing the water and stirring up silt from the seabed, which would decrease visibility.
OrbSys Shower Recycles Water While You Wash
The water-recycling OrbSys Shower purifies water while you wash, cutting water use by up to 90 percent.
The shower, which is similar to those used on space shuttles, features a closed-loop system that filters the soapy, used water, purifies it and then sends it directly back into the flow.
The water retains most of its heat during the process as well, and the filtration process leaves the water even cleaner than typical tap water.
Creating a Power Plant in the Sky
By placing a network of unmanned drones at high altitudes, a UK firm hopes to harvest energy from a variety of sources for transmission to ground-based receiving stations.
The company, New Wave Energy, is developing technology that will see a network of drones hovering in the sky and harnessing wind and solar power. Each four-rotor drone would be equipped with wind turbines and a panel for harvesting solar energy, allowing it to gather enough energy to power itself and still transmit an additional 50 kW wirelessly to the ground as electromagnetic waves.
The drones would operate at high altitudes where they would not be disturbed by weather or aircraft, and their aerial nature would make it easier to send power to remote locations or provide assistance during a natural disaster.
Jellyfish Inspire More Stable Flying Drones
The jellyfish’s ‘flight’ through water has inspired a small flying drone able to maintain a more stable flight without the need for a complex control system.
Many robotic drones have been based around the flight mechanisms of insects such as fruit flies, but that form requires a series of complicated adjustments in order to remain stable. In contrast, the new, jellyfish design features a set of four wings arranged like flower petals. The motion of the wings resembles the pulsing motions of a jellyfish, enabling the drone to hover, ascend and fly in designated directions while also remaining stable.
Eliminating some of the complicated stabilizers reduces weight and frees up extra space, paving the way for smaller and more energy efficient drones.
Diagnosing Cancer with a Squeeze
Researchers have found a way to diagnose cancer easily and more accurately by monitoring how individual cells respond to being squeezed.
The technique uses a deformability cytometer that is able to screen cells for cancer by measuring their level of rigidity. This screening is more efficient than previous methods because it can take place while the cells are still in the pleural effusion (the liquid that builds up in the spaced surrounding the lungs in the presence of cancer).
Instead of the cells needing to be extracted and then subjected to complicated procedures, the cells are squeezed as they move through micro scale conduits, and then their amount of deformity is measured. Cancer cells are softer than healthy cells, and so will deform in different ways.
SmartWig Sends Email Alerts
Sony has patented a design for a SmartWig that would connect wirelessly to smartphones and provide haptic feedback to signal email messages and such.
The SmartWig would be able to wirelessly communicate with a “second computing device,” such a smartphone, tablet or sunglasses. In addition to providing email alerts, the wig could also be paired with a GPS device, which would trigger different areas of the wig to vibrate to indicate directions. Other ideas in the patent include touchpad-integrated sideburns, a built-in camera and a laser pointer.
Besides helping the user feel a bit like James Bond, the wig could also have medical applications—such as monitoring brain waves, blood pressure and temperature
Charging Electric Vehicles on the Go
The ‘range anxiety’ felt by drivers of electric vehicles may be relieved if researchers realize their vision of installing wireless chargers in roads.
Currently, stationary inductive charges for EVs rely on sensors to make sure the receiver coils on the vehicle are properly aligned with the charging coils. To allow for the charging of a moving vehicle, a team from North Carolina State University developed a receiver that will trigger a shot of power when a vehicle passes over a transmitter. The roadway-embedded transmitter coils would be constantly giving off a weak field, which would be increased when a vehicle with a receiver passes by. The team has already created a low-power prototype, and hopes to increase its rate to 50 kilowatts.
According to Srdgan Lukic, assistant professor at NCSU, models indicate that installing the charging coils in just 10 percent of a roadway would extent a car’s driving range from about 60 miles to as much as 300.
E-Fox Velomobile Combines the Best of Bikes and Cars
Designed for urban commuters, the E-Fox was created to bridge the gap between the bicycle and the car.
Technically classified as an electric bike, the E-Fox Velomobile is equipped with a small electric motor able to propel the car up to 20 mph with a 30 mile charge radius. The user can also pedal the vehicle in order to increase the speed or extend battery life. The protective shell of the E-Fox will protect the occupant against the weather, and the small, seven-pound battery can be removed from the car, taken inside, and fully charged in five hours with a charger just a bit larger than a laptop charger.
Tiny Sensor Detects Strokes During Heart Surgery
The discovery of a protein that serves as a biomarker for brain injuries has led to the creation of the world’s most sensitive organic thin film sensor—and a new way to detect brain injury during heart surgery.
Although brain injury can occur during heart surgery in patients of all ages, the biosensor was developed specifically with young patients in mind. Many children with congenital heart defects require a series of operations throughout their lives, and pediatric cardiologist Dr. Allen D. Everett noticed the neurodevelopment problems that would occur as a result of the repeated surgeries.
To address the issue, he used an organic thin film transistor as the platform for a sensor able to detect glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), a biomarker for brain injury. The detector is extremely sensitive to the protein, and can alert the medical team to the occurrence of a stroke, allowing them to take immediate measures. The sensor could also eventually be used at sporting events to detect concussions in athletes.
La Fonction No. 1 is an Office in a Briefcase
The La Fonction No.1 is a sleek, mobile office that folds out from a briefcase creating a private, handy workspace for travelers or shared-office users.
Inspired by the ways early photographers sheltered them from the light, the sides and top of La Fonction No. 1 can be opened and folded to create an organized working zone. Other office necessities, such as pens and papers, can be stored in the internal compartments, which are located within handy reach when the case is in workstation mode.
Made of quality leather, lined in Italian canvas, and able to carry a 15 inch laptop, the case is also stylish enough for urbanites.
Detecting Disease with Bees
A new device that uses bees to detect cancer and other diseases could give dogs some new competition.
Created by Susan Soares, the bee-powered sensor is made up of pair of chambers: a smaller one, called the diagnosis space, and a larger chamber that holds the trained bees. The patient breathes into the smaller chamber, and the bees, which have been taught to connect certain smells with a food reward, will move toward the person’s breath if they detect their trigger smell.
According to Soares, bees can be trained to respond to certain smells in only ten minutes. Once the bee has been captured, trained and performed its duty, it is released to return to the hive.
Sign Language Ring Translates for the Hearing
The Sign Language Ring concept tracks the signing motions made by the user and translates them into audio and written text.
The system would consist of a bracelet and six rings, which are stored on the bracelet when not in use. The ring would detect the hand motions and send the data to the bracelet, where the signs would then be translated into spoken word as well as displayed as text on the bracelet’s screen.
The Sign Language Ring is a 2013 Red Dot award winning design.
Ultrasound Insulin Delivery
A new device that lets diabetic sufferers 'inject' their insulin with ultrasound could provide a pleasant alternative to the daily, multiple injections.
The technique involves using ultrasound pulses to inject insulin-filled nanoparticles just under the patient’s skin. The nanoparticles would have either a positively charged or negatively charged coating, which would allow them to attach to each other instead of spreading throughout the body. As the insulin slowly seeped through the porous nanoparticles, the electrostatic force will also keep it from spreading.
A hand-held ultrasound device is used to release the insulin into the bloodstream when the person is ready for a dose. The device is used externally, and is held just above the site of the nano-network to deliver focused waves of ultrasound to the particles. The team believes the waves excite tiny gas bubbles in the tissue, temporarily disrupting the force holding the particles together and thus allowing the insulin to be released into the bloodstream.
Taste Simulator Adds Flavor to Virtual Worlds
An electrode able to simulate different tastes when held to the tongue could have implications in both gaming and healthcare.
The device is equipped with a silver electrode that is held to the tip of the tongue by the user. Slight changes in the alternating current and temperature controlled by semiconductor elements generate the primary tastes of salty, sweet, bitter and sour. Currently the electrode has to be physically held to the tongue to operate, but the developers hope to create a wireless version that can be used with the mouth closed.
Along with allowing the user to ‘taste’ foods in games and cooking shows, the team also envisions the device being used in healthcare to help chemotherapy patients regenerate their diminished sense of taste or allow diabetics to enjoy the taste of sugar without actually ingesting any.
Tiny Take Yourself Camera Designed for Self-Portraits
The tiny Take Yourself camera pairs with a smartphone to provide an easier and more creative way to take self-portraits.
The Take Yourself camera can be held easily in one hand, which makes it a bit more fluid to operate than some smartphone cameras. It uses the smartphone’s screen to display the image being captured, and then sends the image to the phone via Bluetooth and the companion app.
The camera can also be placed on a surface or clipped to an object and the smartphone used as a remote shutter control to capture images beyond self-portraits.
Bloom Floating Farm Designed to Reduce CO2 Levels
The Bloom floating farm was designed to grow plankton (which help to remove carbon dioxide from the air) while it monitors sea levels, creates fresh water and sends tsunami alerts when appropriate.
One of the five finalists in the "Architecture+Weather" category of Architizer A+ Awards, the Bloom was conceived by Sitbon Architectes of Paris. The large, floating structure would be equipped with aquariums of photoplankton, tiny sea-creatures that play a key role in removing CO2 from the air. The semi-submersible Bloom would be tethered to the ocean floor with a series of cables, and could be moved to ‘dead areas’ of the ocean to help increase the water’s oxygen levels.
The Bloom would also filter sea water to create drinking water, and its sensitivity to sea vibrations would make it an excellent source of early tsunami warnings.
Article by, V.GIRINATH,II B.Sc IT