Sniff control for a wheelchair: Researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel developed a nose-sniff-controlled wheelchair that a new study in the Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences demonstrates to be practical for use by the severely disabled. Because sniffing often remains as the sole bodily mechanism with any kind of precise control in many completely paralyzed, or ‘locked-in,’ patients, it can also serve as a good communication link with the rest of the world.
Not Spider-Man, spider-bacteria: Many physicians long for new types of sutures or new hernia patches? They might have them coming. Spider silk is incredibly strong, but as farming spiders is a delirious idea, researchers are looking at new ways to generate this material. Scientists at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Seoul National University and Tufts University managed to transplant spider silk protein-producing genes into E. coli. By growing significant quantities of the new bacteria, they were able to harvest the silk protein produced and manufacture it into a strong fiber.
Group claims that open source software in devices would mean safer devices: The Software Freedom Law Center, an open source advocacy legal group, issued a paper claiming that the closed nature of the software running most implantable devices is a health risk. Unsurprisingly, SFLC then claims that the best way to address this problem, in terms of safety and security, is by making the code open source, or at least auditable.
Interlocutors’ brain activity mirrors one another: It is well known that people will subconsciously complement others’ actions when conversing. Researchers at Princeton University wanted to see what happens in the brains of conversation participants, and, not too surprisingly, it looks like humans enter a mutual “mind melt” that can be spotted on an fMRI machine.
A weekly roundup of new developments in medical technology, by MedGadget.com.