Body suit simulators are nothing new. Earlier this year the Kanagawa Institute of Technology in Japan unveiled Mommy Tummy 8.0, designed to help the partners of expecting moms--as well as teenagers thinking about getting it on--to understand the physical ramifications of, well, getting it on.
Now students at MIT's AgeLab are taking this empathy concept to another level with AGNES, the Age Gain Now Empathy System, a suit designed to help wearers understand the physical ramifications of neglecting our bodies for decades on end. (AGNES is meant to emulate a 75-year-old with arthritis and diabetes.)
The suit incorporates shoes that compromise one's sense of balance and shorten one's gait; knee and elbow braces that limit joint mobility; earplugs that tune out soft or high-pitched sounds; a helmet that compresses the spine; and gloves that reduce not only strength and mobility in one's hands and wrists but also tactile sensation.… Read more
Shortly before Christmas, teenager Ben Breedlove, creator of the YouTube channel BreedloveTV, posted a two-part video about his lifelong heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. It was the high school senior's most serious video and would prove to be his last.
On Christmas morning, while playing with his younger brother in the family's backyard, Breedlove succumbed to the condition that causes a thickening of heart muscle, went into cardiac arrest, and died.
In the days following, Breedlove's final two videos--in which he does not say a word but cycles through a series of flash cards to the music "… Read more
A young man in a coma was unwittingly poised to give the ultimate this holiday season--his life, and with it, his organs. Instead, his mother became the recipient of the ultimate gift: his sudden recovery.
"Nobody could ever give me a better Christmas present than this--ever, ever, ever," his mother, Susan Regan, told ABC News this week.
Sam Schmid, a junior at the University of Arizona, suffered severe brain damage and broken femurs in a five-car accident in October that killed his friend and roommate.
If researchers at the University of Illinois have their say, bandages are about to get a whole lot cooler.
A team of engineers has created a bandage that in just one week not only encourages new blood vessel growth but helps guide that growth as well.
"The ability to pattern functional blood vessels at this scale in living tissue has not been demonstrated before," co-principal investigator and electrical and computing engineering professor Rashid Bashir says in a school news release.
'Tis the season to be jolly. And a lot of us are during the holidays, if statistical analyses of our tweets provide sufficient measure.
But overall happiness appears to be on a gradual decline since 2009, according to a University of Vermont analysis of some 46 billion words tweeted by 63 million users since 2009.
The team compared a wide range of words and phrases--including hahaha and lol--to "happiness scores" of the 10,000 most common English words. Words such as happy and laughter appear at the top of the 1-to-9 scale, while terrorist gets 1.30.
Not … Read more
It's often the case that a device or substance with a known benefit also comes with known risks--typically referred to as side effects and listed quickly at the ends of commercials. So it seems worth noting when a product's side effect may in fact be useful.
The Valkee, a portable headset launched in August of 2010, directs 8- to 12-minute doses of bright light through the ear canal and into the brain to improve seasonal affective disorder. It turns out that this concentration of bright light into the brain may also improve motoric reaction time, according to a study conducted by Verve Research in Finland.
The placebo-controlled study (meaning some were given the treatment and others a placebo in its place) tested the effects of the Valkee headset on Finnish national league ice hockey players and found that those exposed to 12 minutes of light via the headset sped up their already fast reaction times by 20 percent.
"The placebo-controlled study showed a significant improvement in motoric reaction times of top athletes using bright light via the ear canal," says lead researcher Mikko Tulppo in a news release.… Read more
Patches of tiny needles have already been shown to effectively deliver medications painlessly, and without a bloody mess. Now the tiny needles could also be used to monitor body chemistry in real time.
The new tech, developed by a team of biomedical engineers out of North Carolina State University, the University of California at San Diego, and Sandia National Laboratories, employs electrochemical sensors in the hollow channels of microneedles to detect certain molecules. The researchers reported their findings in the chemistry journal Talanta.
Current body chemistry monitoring involves taking samples, often before or after an event. Wearable micro-sensors, on the … Read more
It's been a good year for video gamers--and not just the epic legions of Call of Duty fans enjoying Modern Warfare 3.
A few months after Foldit players helped decode the structure of a protein key to the way HIV multiplies, another group of gamers taking on DNA sequencing in the game Phylo have contributed more than 350,000 solutions, the game's designers at McGill University report.
When University of Washington researchers unveiled Foldit in 2008, it wasn't clear whether the protein-folding game would be a one hit wonder. But one-year-old Phylo, already averaging 1,000 eureka … Read more
Tracking where humans migrate and cluster in any given country from season to season is, in some places, a tall order. Which makes tracking the risk of infectious disease outbreaks that thrive in dense populations tricky as well.
Satellite images of nighttime lights could be the answer, according to researchers at Princeton, who report on their findings today in the journal Science.
Using nighttime images taken of Niger's three largest cities between 2000 and 2004 by a U.S. Department of Defense satellite, and checking those images against public health records compiled by Niger's Ministry of Health, they … Read more