Bionics advanced in leaps and bounds in 2016

1216 roundup prosthetic
Case Western Reserve University

Amputees gain dexterous touch and movement with bionic hands 

Research into life-like bionic limbs is advancing in leaps and bounds. US researchers report two men, each with a robotic limb in place of an amputated hand, were able to adjust their grip depending on if they were picking up an egg or wielding gardening equipment. Read more

1216 roundup biobots
Ritu Raman / University of Illinois

One small step for bio-bots 

Cyborgs – living creatures augmented with robotic machinery – have been a freaky staple of science fiction for decades. Now take that idea and turn it inside out. What about a robot powered by living muscle? Enter the bio-bot. Read more

1216 roundup spinalcord
Sarah Fisher / Unimelb

A bionic spinal cord for paralysis patients 

Paralysis patients may soon be back on their feet without risky open-brain surgery, thanks to a team of Melbourne medical researchers. They developed a device that measures brain activity from inside a blood vessel and transmits signals that could steer bionic limbs or exoskeletons. Read more

1216 roundup bionicfingertip
Hillary Sanctuary / EPFL

Bionic fingertip lets amputee feel texture 

“Yeah. That was amazing.” These are words from amputee Dennis Aabo Sørensen, the first person to feel texture using a bionic fingertip connected to electrodes surgically implanted in his arm above his stump. Read more

1216 roundup bionichand1

Paralysed man regains touch in his hand, thanks to brain implant 

A paralysed man with a brain implant has had some sense of touch restored – both through his real hand and a fake limb. The research could provide huge improvements for paralysis treatment and develop better prosthetic limbs. Read more

1216 roundup carbonnanotubes

Carbon nanotube implant guides spinal nerve growth 

Nerve cells sprouting from cut spinal cord followed a tangle of tiny tubes made from carbon and formed webs of “wires”, bridging the gap in 3-D. Electrical signals were able to pass between spinal segments again, and – perhaps most importantly – the nanotube sponges are safe to implant in brain tissue. Read more

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