July 22, 2007

Bionic Hand

Picture of the i-LIMB peeling a banana.Touch Bionics announced last week its i-LIMB Hand and ProDigits partial hand prostheses are available and have been successfully fitted in the United States and Europe. The i-LIMB Hand looks and acts like a real human hand and is the world's first widely available prosthetic device with five individually powered digits.

Touch Bionics says the i-LIMB Hand offers an intuitive control system that uses a traditional myoelectric signal input to open and close the hand's life-like fingers. Myoelectric controls utilize the electrical signal generated by muscles in the remaining portion of a patient's limb. This signal is picked up by electrodes that sit on the surface of the skin.

May 29, 2006

DNA Computing

Diagram of DNA moleculeI often write as though one day IT will replace clinicians as repositories of medical knowledge freeing them to address the human side of care. But what if the silicon chip itself could be replaced?

In the May 2006 edition of Scientific American Bring DNA Computers to Life foresees a biomedical computer acting as a intracellular GP by sensing molecular clues and sending out appropriate signals or drugs.

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May 28, 2006

In Lobe with IT: neural enhancement

Scan of a Brain.

Cat's foot iron claw
Neuro-surgeons scream for more
At paranoia's poison door
Twenty-first century schizoid man

I first heard Greg Lake yelling these lyrics to King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man at Alan Fairbairn's house while skiving school games one Wednesday afternoon. They disturbed me then and seem eerily prophetic now.

In 20 May 2006's New Scientist Neurosurgeon Katrina Firlik predicts the development of a whole new field of brain surgery implanting electrical stimulators to treat conditions like depression and language disorders.

According to European scientists have created a neuro-chip by merging neural proteins with a silicon chip. Though it could be decades before a living computer is realised, such technology could be used now by pharmaceutical companies to assess the effect of drugs on nerve tissue.

More about Pete Sinfield and his lyrics.