The Med Sensation glove, now in its second iteration, is outfitted with sensors that can detect vibrations, sound, and temperature—and it features an accelerometer and a buzzer system for items that require immediate attention. “If you apply too much pressure on the examined tissue, then the buzzer goes on,” explains team member Elishai Ezra.
The third version will come with micro-ultrasounds on the glove fingertips. All the information derived from a glove-guided examination can be wirelessly transmitted to an outside device. “The idea is to quantify touch,” says Ezra.
“I wanted to walk,” she says. Graced with tawny hair, high cheekbones, and chocolate-brown eyes, Mena, now 25, is a picture of youthful vitality if you overlook the tracheotomy scar where medics inserted a tube to oxygenate her collapsed lungs after the accident. “I looked into walking with braces, but they sucked the energy right out of me. I met with a doctor about stem-cell treatments, but that was costly and there was no guarantee. I gave up. I had to move on.”
After six years in a wheelchair, Tamara Mena can walk again. Ekso Bionics builds robotic exoskeletons that can help paraplegics walk. All CEO Eythor Bender has to do is create a market for a product that no one knew they wanted.
So it’s amazing, and it really does seem like a human hand. But could your hand take a beating from a baseball bat and still work fine? DLR’s one can—thanks to those super-strong artificial tendons and clever spring assemblies that let the tendons “stretch”. The way the tendons are arranged (in what’s called an antagonistic manner) also means the “stiffness” or reboundability of each joint can be adjusted in real time by the arm’s computers. This trick even lets it safely catch a fast-moving ball (where previous robot appendages would suffer damage) because the springiness absorbs some of the incoming energy—just as your arm does. The DLR hand can also click its fingers, just for fun.