Thursday, December 29, 2005


The Cyberhand Project -

From their website:

The main objectives of the CYBERHAND Project are to increase the basic knowledge of neural regeneration, and sensory-motor control of the hand in humans and to exploit this knowledge to develop a new kind of hand prosthesis which will overcome some of the drawbacks of current systems. This new prosthesis will:

  1. be felt by an amputee as the lost natural limb delivering her/him a natural sensory feedback by means of the stimulation of some specific afferent nerves;

  2. be controlled in a very natural way by processing the efferent neural signals coming from the central nervous system (reducing the discomfort of the current EMG-based control prosthesis).

Friday, December 02, 2005

Prosthetic Ass

The Prosthetic Ass by computer programmer and techno-artist Amos Latteier is powered by a chainsaw and can carry up to 400 pounds.

Bio-engineered Machines: Genetically-engineered E. coli-based digital decoders

Davidson Students Are Standouts at MIT Synthetic Biology Competition

From the College News press release:
Six Davidson students claimed standout status this fall as the only liberal arts undergraduates to present their work at the Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

...The Davidson team - "The Synth-Aces," a word play on enzymes called synthases - presented their design of a genetically-engineered, E. coli-based "digital decoder." The device detects which combination of three common chemicals (with eight combinations possible) is present, and then displays a human-readable number that glows in the dark. The number is produced by genetically customized bacteria that growin a familiar pattern of a digital numeric display. The resulting readouts of 0 through 7 correspond to the specific chemical combination detected in solution. One real world application of a decoderdevice might be to monitor water for contaminants or toxins.

To achieve such elegant simplicity, synthetic biology combines science, math, and high-powered computing to tease out virtually infinite genetic possibilities for designing and building this kind of bio-engineered "machine." This kind of deciphering and rewriting of nature's code with a specific cellular behavior in mind - custom-tailoring the machine's "parts" - is where some hardcore math and computing come in.