Kevlar finds a use beyond bulletproof vests — as a cartilage replacement

kevlar-based-artificial-cartilage-mimics-the-magic-of-the-real-thing-twist-orig-20171115 Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering
We trust Kevlar to protect us from external force, but we may soon put the material to use internally as well. As per new research from the University of Michigan, we may soon be padding the insides of our bodies with “Kevlartilage,” a Kevlar-based artificial cartilage that could help joint injury patients the world over. In fact, in the U.S. alone, some 850,000 patients undergo surgeries that remove or replace knee cartilage every year, and having a viable man-made material to aid in the recovery process could prove a huge boon.

Our natural cartilage is actually comprised of about 80 percent water, a stunning characteristic considering it’s able to withstand some of the most extreme pressures placed on our bodies. “We know that we consist mostly of water — all life does — and yet our bodies have a lot of structural stability,” noted Nicholas Kotov, an engineering professor at the University of Michigan who led the Kevlartilage study. “Understanding cartilage is understanding how life forms can combine properties that are sometimes unthinkable together.”

As it stands, most of today’s synthetic cartilage is “unable to achieve that unlikely combination of strength and water content,” researchers note. This is because most artificial materials that attempt to replicate the physical characteristics of cartilage do not contain adequate amounts of water to transport the necessary nutrients for cells. Hydrogels, meanwhile, have plenty of water incorporated into them, but aren’t strong enough to replace our cartilage.

But the Kevlar-based hydrogel that makes up Kevlartilage is said to combine a network of Kevlar nanofibers with a material found frequently in hydrogel cartilage replacements — PVA. The Kevlar allows for the framework of the artificial cartilage to remain strong, while the PVA keeps water inside the network even when the Kevlartilage is stretched or compressed.

To be fair, we likely won’t see this new cartilage in action for quite some time, as researchers must patent their creation and work alongside medical device companies to actually bring the product to market. But if Kevlartilage works as well in real patients as it has in lab tests, a bum knee may not end your athletic career after all.

Product Review

Master and Dynamic’s MW65 sound great, but can't drown out the noise

Every time we try out a pair of Master and Dynamic headphones, we steel ourselves for their lofty price point. And every time, they win us over with equal parts luxurious design and stellar sound.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2019, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR and much more.
Gaming

From supported games to the beta, here's what we know about Microsoft xCloud

Microsoft xCloud or Project xCloud is the company's upcoming game-streaming service, and it will work on everything from consoles to phones. Here's everything we know about Microsoft xCloud.
Mobile

OnePlus 7 Pro vs OnePlus 7: Is the Pro worth the extra dough?

If you're wondering about the differences between the OnePlus 7 Pro and the plain, old OnePlus 7, you're in the right place. Join us as we put the two head-to-head and reveal precisely what sets them apart and which one you should buy.
Health & Fitness

Stay fit and save cash with these affordable fitness trackers

We've compiled a list of the best cheap fitness trackers you can buy. If you're on a budget, looking for something simple, or simply testing the wearable waters, our list offers something for everyone.
Health & Fitness

The best water flossers and Waterpiks according to dentists

Often referred to as Waterpiks, oral irrigators are a great alternative for people who would otherwise avoid flossing. They work by directing a concentrated stream of water onto your teeth, gums and the small spaces in between, removing…
Product Review

Propella 2.2 is proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good ebike

Starting at $999, the Propella 2.2 ebike is well-equipped and affordable, yet still nimble and lightweight, which makes it a great option for bike commuters and urban riders who don’t want to break the bank.
Deals

Bowflex’s summer countdown sale drops huge discounts on home gym equipment

Summer's almost here. Is that 'summer bod' ready? We're guessing not if you're reading this. Bowflex is running its Summer Countdown Sale, with discounts of up to $400 on select treadmills, home gyms, and more.
Deals

Walmart drops deals on Fitbit Versa and Charge 3 smartwatches for Mother’s Day

Is your mother trying to get in better shape this summer, and looking for a fitness tracker? If so, Walmart has just dropped some great deals on three Fitbit models, saving you as much as $30 on the Fitbit Alta, Versa smartwatch, and Charge…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google I/O wrap-up, Lyft and Uber strike, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the Google I/O conference, the Lyft and Uber strike, Amazon’s New York Go store, Germany’s electric delivery truck highway, Japan’s successful rocket launch, and more.
Wearables

Fitbit’s kid-friendly Ace 2 fitness tracker now available for pre-order

Fitbit is now selling the Ace 2 fitness tracker for kids. The entry-level wearable counts steps, tracks active minutes, and monitors sleep to help keep kids active and encourage healthy habits throughout the day.
Home Theater

Run to the beat of your favorite music with the best running headphones

Running is a great source of exercise but isn't always the most thrilling, especially when you're fiddling to keep your headphones in place. Check out our picks for the best headphones for running, so you never have to miss a beat again.
Health & Fitness

Coros pushes the limits with light, long-lasting Vertix adventure watch

Coros continues to turn heads in the fitness watch market. With a titanium frame and 45 days of battery life, the new Coros Vertix is the lightest and longest lasting adventure watch now available.
Smart Home

Trying to lose weight? The best bathroom scales measure more than pounds

Today's scales measure everything from your body mass index to your bone mass, and with connected apps and fitness trackers, could be the tool to help you reach your health and fitness goals.