Recent Discoveries in Therapeutic Devices

Improved Artificial Pacemakers

Improved Artificial pacemakers

Israeli researchers have recently achieved a big breakthrough in the field of artificial pacemakers. They are able to use mechanical stimulation to train cardiac cells to beat at a given rate with success. The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology team’s study demonstrates that for the first time, it is possible to synchronize the beating of cardiac cells without direct physical contact. The studies also showed that the cells are able to communicate with each other mechanically by responding to distortions created by their neighbors.

“Mechanical communication plays an important role in cardiac physiology and is essential for converting electrical pacing into synchronized beating. Impaired mechanical communication will lead to arrhythmias even when electrical conduction is working properly. The medical implication is that adding mechanical elements to electrical pacemakers will significantly improve their efficiency,” said Assistant Prof. Shelly Tzlil of the Mechanical Engineering Faculty.

Hearing Aids

zpower hearing aids

The ZPower Rechargeable System for Hearing Aids recently launched its new hearing aids batteries. The new technology offers many advantages for the hearing aid users including continuous power for a full day and overnight charging. It lasts a full year and can be a single replacement to an estimated 200 disposable batteries; thus the patient doesn’t have to go through the trouble of changing the batteries.

According to a recent study by MarkeTrak 9, rechargeable batteries and rechargeable hearing aids are among the top features sought by hearing aid users. ZPower’s new technology would be a great help to the aged and disabled people. From a pilot test with over 100 patients that was received positively, over 1600 of the dispensers’ patients use it now.

Optical Aids

Second Sight’s retinal implants, Argus II, are successful in restoring some degree of vision to patients who were functionally blind. The Argus, now on its second generation of hardware, is comprised of tiny wireless units designed to replace some of the function of the damaged retina.

Second Sight implanted the first version of Argus in six patients back in 2002.

The Argus II bionic eye does have its CE mark (CE marking indicates to EU regulators that your device meets all applicable requirements of the appropriate EU Directive) and patients can get it privately – but at the cost of USD 2,16,100 (£150,000). Manchester Royal Eye Hospital consultant Ophthalmologist, Dr. Paulo Stanga emphasized: “I’m more interested in getting it through the NHS [as] everyone will benefit much more.”

President Barack Obama is soon set to honor Pakistani-American Mark Salman Humayun with prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation for the creation of Arugus II.

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  • e-NABLE, an international nonprofit organization, is dedicated to help the worldwide limb different community through their free 3D printed prosthetic hands. After delivering more than 2000 devices to individuals in more than 45 countries, the e-NABLE community is now branching out into the new area of 3D printable prosthetic leg covering or fairing.
    Frankie Flood, one of the members and designers of e-NABLE Community, shared in his blog: “Last semester, my students Fred Kaems, Becky Yoshikane, Sara Shuler and Calvin T. Rupnow, engaged in a project that involved the creation of a 3D printable prosthetic leg covering or fairing. This is intended to restore anatomical shape of the affected limb, to be customizable and to be 3D printable on tabletop 3D printers. This project, entitled, ‘Next Step’, is provided as a way to give veterans the opportunity to customize and create a bespoke covering that mirrors their personality and interests.”
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  • Researchers at ETH Zurich, a Swiss technical university, plan to host the first ever “Cyborg Olympics” in Zurich in October 2016. The university’s games will be open to disabled people who use an electronic prosthetic for basic daily tasks.
    SCHWEIZ CYBATHLONIn these games, the competitors will be using advanced technologies to compensate for disabilities like paralysis and limb amputation. In the cycling race, for example, paraplegic competitors will use electrical stimulation systems to jolt their paralyzed legs into action; electrodes and muscles will work in tandem to propel their trikes forward.
    Contestants, will be called ‘pilots’ instead of ‘athletes’ as each participant will be supported by a technology team in each event. The pilot would compete in a number of events aimed to mimic real-life events, with the assistance of robotic devices controlled by their minds, or remote controls. Those with leg prosthetics will have to climb stairs and walk on stepping-stones; those with arm prosthetics will have to slice loaves of bread and open jars. If researchers are able to develop robotic solutions to these problems, it could vastly improve the daily lives of many with disabilities, and the world’s growing aging populations.
    Watch Cyborg Olympics 2016 Trailer here

Mobility Aids

The Bridge for Health workshop, Importance of Staying Active as We Age, would be introducing Dutch designer Barbara Alinker’s walking-bicycle, the Alinker, designed for people facing mobility challenges due to old age or disability to walk farther and faster with greater enjoyment.

“I designed the Alinker for the user who feels dismissed by traditional mobility devices, like the wheelchair,” Barbara Alinker said. Unlike wheelchairs, the Alinker’s seat aligns the user at eye level so they can maintain eye contact in conversations while pushing along their bike to increase physical activity.


The Alinker R-volution weighs 12kg, and is foldable. Barbara Alinker plans to make it available in three colors (deep purple / eggplant and brushed aluminum with a clear coat), but initially only in yellow, to make it stand out.

Although the sales have not yet been started in countries except Netherlands (medium size Alinker R-volution). Pre-sales activities for the small and large sizes are also underway. The pre-sales campaign for the Alinker R-volution would be starting in the USA early 2016. The estimated retail price of the Alinker R-volution is approximately USD 1977.

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