For most of us, it's impossible to fully comprehend the consequences of a disease such as Parkinson's or Essential Tremor. Many sufferers shake constantly; they can't eat, drink, or lead normal lives without the help of caretakers. Thanks to Lynn Otten, however, Parkinson's sufferers now have a potent weapon in the fight against the disease. An engineer in Medtronic Inc.'s Neurological Division, Otten worked with three others from the company to develop the Activa Tremor Control system. It is the first FDA-approved electrical stimulation device for long-term implant in the brain. Starting on it as a spare-time project, Otten spearheaded the five-year development effort, which culminated when dramatic test results began pouring in from clinical trails. A biomedical engineer who holds numerous patents, Otten took the device through development, testing, validation, and, ultimately, to manufacturing. The device, which almost completely stops the tremors, is now available to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers who could not otherwise lead normal lives.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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