Adding human touch to prostheses
- 29 Oct
New technology used in smartphones is able to help create a revolution for people with prostheses.
When hugging or touching a fellow person we find it quite easy to judge how much force and power is needed to stop us from causing them injury or pain, however for someone fitted with prostheses this becomes more difficult as they are without the sense of touch. However, an experiment carried out by a group at the University of Chicago is soon to be making this possible.
Prosthetic limbs have already seen a massive improvement over the years with amputee's able to receive fully functioning prostheses that mimic the motion of fully functioning limbs. The making of a smartphone as a mass-market item has leveraged the production of cheap, quick silicon chops and the price of lithium batteries which are needed to power them. In robotic prostheses the computer processors re used to monitor the electrical signals of the arm muscles and translate them in to mechanical movement of joints and fingers whilst the batter provides it with power it needs. However the aspect of touch sensitivity is yet to be incorporated into these limbs.
Prosthetic fingers and thumbs don't have a sense of touch meaning that amputees have to rely on their visual sense to guide the forces exerted by their prosthetic hands, reports the Guardian. In order to give some force feedback, the ability to detect the strength of their force, they need to be able to detect force. The technology that works on smart phone screens has a touch sensor and can be adapted to the soft, deformable and multiple curved surfaces of prosthesis; however it is a considerable challenge.
Light.Touch.Matters is developing a mouldable plastic material that contains piezoelectric powder that will sense pressure at any point on the surface by turning it into an electric voltage. However there is still a large hurdle for them to overcome; these electric signals need to be translated in to the physiological language of the body. This means that the electric voltages need to be plugged into the nervous system and interpreted in the brain as a sense of touch.
Chicago University scientists are a group who succeeded in doing this. They reported that using electrodes attached to the nerves of a monkey's hand they were able to replicate the perception of physical pressure associated with holding things, just by manipulating the voltages. This shows that it is possible to integrate prostheses into the nervous system. If prostheses gain a sense of touch it could change their philosophical status as "lifeless".
Image source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1413757
- 10 Aug
New social enterprise to help adults with vulnerabilities
Aspire Community Benefit Society is taking over the council’s Learning Disability Service for a five year contract, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post.This new model will see the Learning...
- 30 Jul
New app hopes to bring smarter housing for social landlords
The ZONR app combines the latest intelligent sensor technology, smart data transmission and decision engine analytics to centrally monitor and support heating systems across social landlord’s...
- 05 May
New model of care homes in Wakefield to go ahead
WDH's vision was being able to help people live longer, healthier lives and see support by co-ordinated services delivered as close to their homes as possible under the banner of ‘Connecting Care',...
- 29 Dec
App to support young people with autism with social interactions
This new app launched by Samsung aims to help treat the inability to make eye contact. The app, called Look at Me, has been developed with Seoul National University Bundang Hospital and Yonsei...
- 27 Oct
3D maps could help people with visual impairments navigate cities
The official mapping body for Japan GSI have already developed paper maps for those with visual impairments using embossed surfaces to mark out roads, and is now planning a programme which will do...
- 21 Oct
A paralysed man has been able to walk again following cell transplant
Darek Fidyka, who was paralysed from the chest down following a knife attack in 2010, is now able to walk using a frame, reports the BBC. The treatment is a world first and was carried out by...
- 08 Jul
Breakthrough blood test for Alzheimer's cure
An international collaboration led by scientists from King's College London and Proteome Sciences has published a study identifying a set of ten proteins in the blood. This test will then predict the...
- 04 Jul
Trials for Alzheimer's disease is declining
US scientists have said there is an urgent need to increase the number of potential therapies being investigated. They say that only one new medicine has been approved since 2004, reports the BBC.The...
- 02 May
Study into the possibility of delaying the onset of dementia
One third of a million adults in the UK are taking part in a trial, funded by the Medical Research Council to try to predict what factors increases the risk of a person developing dementia.Each of...
- 10 Mar
Scientists believe a blood test could detect the early signs of Alzheimer's
Researchers have found that changes in the blood may signify Alzheimer's disease in its earliest stages. The study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, has identified ten molecules in blood...
Support Solutions 5th National Housing Support & Social Care Conference 2014 The Social and Financial return seminar was very helpful, helped me think about our approach to bidding, negotiating for funding and keeping hold of what we have! The New Technology seminar was really an eye opener- really got me thinking about potential applications for older people. P.M - Four Housing