Bionics advanced in leaps and bounds in 2016

Melding the body with technological advancements gave paralysed patients movement, restored touch and helped regrow damaged spinal tissue in mice. 

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

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

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

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


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


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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