When you imagine the future, it’s easy to fall into the trap of Bauhaus 2050–a place where screens simply appear and disappear when needed, and technology is minimal, tasteful, and ethereal. Here’s another possible future: We’re all casual cyborgs that wear dexterous, double-limbed robots around our shoulders to help out when we need them. Just try to claim with a straight face that you wouldn’t want one. advertisement A very real prototype of such a device comes our way from a team at Keio University, led by assistant professor Yamen Saraiji, in conjunction with the University of Tokyo. Fast Company last year, which gave the wearer a third arm that they controlled by foot pedals. The MetaLimbs project has gotten a significant upgrade, dubbed Fusion. Aside from adding a second arm, the system now features telepresence, which allows another person, even half a world away, to control those robotic arms with a first-person view of their wearer. … [Read more...] about Life with four arms looks pretty great
Rehabilitation virtual reality system
Like all everyday miracles of technology, the longer you watch a robot perform surgery on a human being, the more it begins to look like an inevitable natural wonder. Earlier this month I was in an operating theatre at University College Hospital in central London watching a 59-year-old man from Potters Bar having his cancerous prostate gland removed by the four dexterous metal arms of an American-made machine, in what is likely a glimpse of the future of most surgical procedures. The robot was being controlled by Greg Shaw, a consultant urologist and surgeon sitting in the far corner of the room with his head under the black hood of a 3D monitor, like a Victorian wedding photographer. Shaw was directing the arms of the remote surgical tool with a fluid mixture of joystick control and foot-pedal pressure and amplified instruction to his theatre team standing at the patient’s side. The surgeon, 43, has performed 500 such procedures, which are particularly useful for pelvic … [Read more...] about The robot will see you now: could computers take over medicine entirely?
As a former chair of an independent monitoring board at a prison, I can confirm that cuts to prison funding have had an extremely detrimental effect on the rehabilitation of those jailed under an imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence (Arguments about McCann’s sentencing ignore the realities of a probation sector in crisis, 7 December). No IPP prisoner can make an application to the parole board until they have served their minimum tariff and completed all prescribed courses. In many cases these courses are grossly oversubscribed, and in some cases not available at the jail where the prisoner is held. As a result, virtually all IPP prisoners are detained way beyond their tariff. This leads to anger and, in turn, poor behaviour, which often stymies their chances of release when they eventually do come before a parole board. Many are released in a worse state than when they were sentenced. The Tory government is entirely responsible for this unacceptable situation.Mark … [Read more...] about Damaging effects of prison funding cuts