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Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Nerve-Stimulating Headband Gets FDA Nod for Treatment of Migraine Headaches

The FDA recently approved an external device that uses nerve stimulation to decrease the frequency of debilitating migraine headaches. The Cefaly headband, which connects to a stick-on electrode to stimulate the endings of the trigeminal nerve, is the first non-pharmaceutical migraine treatment to get the agency’s okay.

Beyond the SmartWatch — Startups Push Body Monitoring Wearables

It’s easy to be a skeptic in Silicon Valley. The probability a hot startup will be passé within a year or two is much higher than the probability it’ll be the next Apple, Facebook,...

Can Buffett’s $1B Bracket Gamble or Nate Silver’s Statistical Tricks Tame March Madness?

It’s late March, and the NCAA college basketball tournament is underway. Each year, millions print brackets of the 64 teams and pencil in their picks. And each year, many a bracket is fit for...

Robotic Fish Swims as Deftly as the Real Thing

MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has made a significant step in achieving both safety and agility in the same device with a soft robot fish, made of soft silicone, that can perform sophisticated, agile movements and is safe for operation near humans.

Can a Prosthetic Arm Turn a Drummer’s Disability Into a Superability?

It was the summer of 1987. I, in my hypercolor t-shirt, nibbled astronaut ice cream to an endless parade of MTV hair bands dispensing bar-closing mainstays like “Livin’ On a Prayer,” “Here I Go...

Driverless Cars, Meet Captainless Ships: Autonomous Vehicles To Take To The Sea

If artificial intelligence is sophisticated enough to handle a car on a Bay Area freeway, surely it can pilot a ship safely from port to port. That’s the premise of a European Union-funded project called MUNIN tasked with designing largely automated cargo ships by the beginning of 2015.

Patient’s Face Reconstructed Using 3D-Printed Parts

Stephen Power, a 29-year-old Welsh man who was badly injured in a 2012 motorcycle crash, underwent major reconstructive surgery on his face and now wears custom-made 3D-printed structural implants that were devised and installed using 3D-printed models of his facial bones.

As Robots Evolve the Workforce, Will Labor Laws Keep Pace?

Humans aren’t just being replaced by robots, particularly as job descriptions adapt to new divisions of labor: A growing number will find themselves working alongside the droids. The situation raises some thorny legal issues.

Backing Up the World’s Food Supply with 800,000 Plant Species on Ice

In March 2008, on a remote Norwegian island in the Arctic circle the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or “doomsday vault,” took its first deposits. The vault’s builders had spent the prior year blasting a tunnel and three chambers into the mountainside’s permafrost. To be stored within each chamber? Treasure. The doomsday vault was constructed to store the world’s agriculture heritage in deep freeze, should the worst happen. Six years on, and following a recent deposit of 20,000 species, the vault now houses over 800,000 plant species, and with an average 500 seeds per sample, some 400 million seeds.

Will Sensor-Packed Body Armor Launch a New Blood(less) Sport?

Chiron Global’s martial arts armor has been described as Iron Man-like, but we’d call it a cross between the Dark Knight and Darth Vader. But hey, splitting hairs. You get the point. Technology, superheroes, ninjas—dark forces shrouded in mystery.

Tiny Ultrasonic Device to Travel Arteries and Image Coronary Blockages

There’s a rule of thumb in surgery—the less invasive the procedure, the better. Less invasive surgeries reduce patient discomfort, foster faster recoveries, and limit the risk of infection. Problem is, you have to get...

Virtual Arm Eases Amputee’s Phantom Limb Pain

Swedish researchers created an augmented reality system in which myoelectric electrodes on an amputee patient's stump indicated his attempted muscle movements for the missing arm, and an arm image on screen reflected those movements back to him. The patient reported that his chronic phantom limb pain diminished dramatically.

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