3D printer builds ‘Magic Arms’ for two-year-old girl with joint disease

emma-magic-arms

Detailed within a YouTube video, researchers at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children developed a lightweight exoskeleton for a two-year old girl named Emma that was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). The disease can cause joints to become permanently fixed in a single position. Prevalent in Emma’s arms, it was impossible for her to lift her own arms on her own in order to do something as simple as picking up a toy or even giving her mom or dad a big hug. After researching the disease, Emma’s parents attended a medical conference where they learned about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX). Emma was able to try out a version of the WREX at the hospital, but she was too small for the bulky metal arms.

WREXIn order to design a version for Emma that would both fit her and weigh significantly less, the researchers used the Stratays Dimension 3D printer to build pieces of the arms out of the same type of plastic that’s used in LEGOs. The pieces snap together and resistance bands are used to adjust the tension on the two arms.

In addition, the researchers also developed a jacket that fits over Emma and the arms are fixed to that exoskeleton. This allowed Emma to have increased mobility in her home. She could finally use her arms to do things like color drawings or eat candy as well as simply having fun being a silly kid.

As Emma has grown up, she outgrew the first version of the exoskeleton. However, the 3D printer allows the researchers to input new specifications into a computer program and print larger parts as she grows older. It’s also handy for printing new sections of the exoskeleton when something happens to break. After Emma’s parents send the researchers a digital photograph of the broken piece, the newly printed piece can be dropped in the mail and delivered to Emma’s parents the next day.

When Emma’s parents tell Emma that they are putting on the WREX each day, Emma calls the device her “magic arms.” Researchers have used the design that they built for Emma and have created similar lightweight exoskeletons for other children. 

Business

4 women innovators who are using tech to help others live better lives

Meet four women leaders who are not only at the forefront of technology today, but also using tech — from robotics and medicine to food and undergarments — to help others.
Home Theater

What year is this? Apple might drop a new iPod tomorrow

After two days of surprise hardware releases that have brought us new iPads and iMacs, rumor has it that we may see an update of Apple's iPod as soon as tomorrow, sparking a mixture of nostalgia and curiosity.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.