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Health & Medicine

by   -   September 4, 2017

MIT engineers have devised a way to automate the process of monitoring neurons in a living brain using a computer algorithm that analyzes microscope images and guides a robotic arm to the target cell. In this image, a pipette guided by a robotic arm approaches a neuron identified with a fluorescent stain.
Credit: Ho-Jun Suk

by Anne Trafton

Recording electrical signals from inside a neuron in the living brain can reveal a great deal of information about that neuron’s function and how it coordinates with other cells in the brain. However, performing this kind of recording is extremely difficult, so only a handful of neuroscience labs around the world do it.


Mike Salem from Udacity’s Robotics Nanodegree is hosting a series of interviews with professional roboticists as part of their free online material.

Using Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) as a way to give people with locked-in syndrome back reliable communication and control capabilities has long been a futuristic trope of medical dramas and sci-fi. A team from NCCR Robotics and CNBI, EPFL have recently published a paper detailing work as a step towards taking this technique into everyday lives of those affected by extreme paralysis.

by   -   August 9, 2017

To make it easier to diagnose and study sleep problems, researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital have devised a new way to monitor sleep stages without sensors attached to the body. Their device uses an advanced artificial intelligence algorithm to analyze the radio signals around the person and translate those measurements into sleep stages: light, deep, or rapid eye movement (REM).

by   -   August 4, 2017
SEM images of the hybrid soft pop-up actuators. The image has been colored in post processing to differentiate between the soft (in yellow) and the rigid structure (in blue). Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

By Leah Burrows, SEAS Communications

Flexible endoscopes can snake through narrow passages to treat difficult to reach areas of the body. However, once they arrive at their target, these devices rely on rigid surgical tools to manipulate or remove tissue. These tools offer surgeons reduced dexterity and sensing, limiting the current therapeutic capabilities of the endoscope.

A team led by Sunil Agrawal, professor of mechanical engineering and of rehabilitation and regenerative medicine at Columbia Engineering, has published a pilot study in Science Robotics that demonstrates a robotic training method that improves posture and walking in children with crouch gait by enhancing their muscle strength and coordination.

by   -   July 26, 2017
Image: MIT CSAIL

Singapore and MIT have been at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development. First, there were self-driving golf buggies. Then, an autonomous electric car. Now, leveraging similar technology, MIT and Singaporean researchers have developed and deployed a self-driving wheelchair at a hospital.

by   -   July 21, 2017
Credit: EPFL

When training to regain movement after stroke or spinal cord injury (SCI), patients must once again learn how to keep their balance during walking movements. Current clinical methods support the weight of the patient during movement, while setting the body off balance. This means that when patients are ready to walk without mechanical assistance, it can be hard to re-train the body to balance against gravity. This is the issue addressed in a recent paper published in Science Translational Medicine by a team lead by Courtine-Lab, and featuring Ijspeert Lab, NCCR Robotics and EPFL.

by   -   July 14, 2017

A quick, hassle-free way to stay on top of robotics news, our robotics digest is released on the first Monday of every month. Sign up to get it in your inbox.

by   -   July 9, 2017

This week features CYBERLEGs++: The CYBERnetic LowEr-Limb CoGnitive Ortho-prosthesis Plus Plus.

A new robot under development can send information on the stiffness, look and feel of a patient to a doctor located kilometres away. Image credit: Accrea

A robotic doctor that can be controlled hundreds of kilometres away by a human counterpart is gearing up for action. Getting a check-up from a robot may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but scientists are closing in on this real-life scenario and have already tested a prototype.

Snake robot at the Robotics institute. Credit: Jiuguang Wang/Flickr

The biblical narrative of the Garden of Eden describes how the snake became the most cursed of all beasts: “you shall walk on your belly, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.” The reptile’s eternal punishment is no longer feared but embraced for its versatility and flexibility. The snake is fast approaching as one of the most celebrated robotic creatures for roboticists worldwide in out maneuvering rovers and humanoids.

by   -   June 21, 2017
Image: MIT News

Laparoscopy is a surgical technique in which a fiber-optic camera is inserted into a patient’s abdominal cavity to provide a video feed that guides the surgeon through a minimally invasive procedure. Laparoscopic surgeries can take hours, and the video generated by the camera — the laparoscope — is often recorded. Those recordings contain a wealth of information that could be useful for training both medical providers and computer systems that would aid with surgery, but because reviewing them is so time consuming, they mostly sit idle.

The Baxter robot hands off a cable to a human collaborator — an example of a co-robot in action. Photo credit: Aaron Bestick, UC Berkeley.

The key takeaway from Tuesday’s RobotLabNYC forum, on “Exploring The Autonomous Future,” was humans are the key to robot adoption. Dr. Howard Morgan of First Round Capital expressed to the audience of more than 100 innovators working within the automation ecosystem, the necessity of embracing “entrepreneurial marketing” to reach customers. Tom Ryden echoed Morgan’s sentiment in his presentation about Mass Robotics, conveying his startups’ frustrations with the pace of adoption. Dr. Eric Daimler, formerly of the Obama Administration, concluded the evening succinctly by exclaiming, “we only adopt what we trust.” Trust is key for crossing the chasm.

by   -   June 15, 2017

Mosquitos kill more humans every year than any other animal on the planet and conventional methods to reduce mosquito-borne illnesses haven’t worked as well as many hoped. So we’ve been hard at work since receiving this USAID grant six months ago to reduce Zika incidence and related threats to public health.



Disney Robotics
September 17, 2017


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