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Soon, prosthetic limbs that take feedback from human bodyPhoto for representational purpose only. iStock

Soon, prosthetic limbs that take feedback from human body

24 Jun 2017 | 3:29 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed a novel design approach for exoskeletons and prosthetic limbs that incorporates direct feedback from the human body.

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WASHINGTON: Scientists have developed a novel design approach for exoskeletons and prosthetic limbs that incorporates direct feedback from the human body.

The approach will dramatically improve energy economy, speed and balance for millions of people, especially those with disabilities, researchers said.

The technique, called human-in-the-loop optimisation, customises walking assistance for individuals and significantly improves energy economy during walking.

The algorithm that enables this optimisation represents a landmark achievement in the field of biomechatronics — study of biology, mechanics, electronics and control.

“Existing exoskeleton devices, despite their potential, have not improved walking performance as much as we think they should,” said Steven Collins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the US.

“We have seen improvements related to computing, hardware, and sensors, but the biggest challenge has remained the human element - we just have not been able to guess how they will respond to new devices,” said Collins.

The software algorithm is combined with versatile emulator hardware that automatically identifies optimal assistance strategies for individuals.

During experiments, each user received a unique pattern of assistance from an exoskeleton worn on one ankle.

The algorithm tested their responses to 32 different patterns over the course of an hour, making adjustments based on measurements of their energy use with each pattern.

The optimised assistance pattern produced larger benefits than any exoskeleton to date, including devices acting at all joints on both legs.

“When we walk, we naturally optimise coordination patterns for energy efficiency. Human-in-the-loop optimisation acts in a similar way to optimise the assistance provided by wearable devices,” said Collins.

“We are really excited about this approach because we think it will dramatically improve energy economy, speed, and balance for millions of people, especially those with disabilities,” he said.

The findings were published this week in Science. PTI

Facebook to release app for video creators

Facebook to release app for video creators

24 Jun 2017 | 12:50 PM

NEW YORK: With an aim to empower its creator community, Facebook has announced that it is planning to launch a new app just for them later this year.

New smartphone coating allows you to read in bright sunlight

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23 Jun 2017 | 8:07 PM

WASHINGTON:Inspired by the nanostructures found on moth eyes, scientists have developed a new anti- reflection film that could allow people to read from their smartphones and tablets even in bright sunlight.

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22 Jun 2017 | 6:48 PM

LONDON: Being married makes men gain weight, and the early days of fatherhood may lead to further pile up of extra kilos, a study has found.

Mystery behind 'bright nights' solved

Mystery behind 'bright nights' solved

22 Jun 2017 | 3:26 PM

TORONTO: Scientists have solved a centuries-old mystery of "bright nights" - an unusual glow that appears in the sky after dark and lets observers see distant mountains, read a newspaper or check their watch.

Rare US total solar eclipse excites Americans coast-to-coast

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22 Jun 2017 | 2:49 PM

WASHINGTON: For the first time in almost a century the United States is preparing for a coast-to-coast solar eclipse, a rare celestial event millions of Americans, with caution, will be able to observe.

Love for selfies decoded

Love for selfies decoded

22 Jun 2017 | 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON DC: It's now hard to imagine a life without selfies! Thanks to front-facing cameras and the rise of social media, selfies populate our camera rolls, Instagram feeds, dating profiles, and vocabularies.

Facebook's new tools for India to protect profile pictures

Facebook's new tools for India to protect profile pictures

22 Jun 2017 | 12:35 PM

LOS ANGELES: Facebook has introduced new tools in India that will allow users to protect their profile pictures from being downloaded and shared, a move that may help reduce misuse of images on the popular social networking site.

Genetics behind Harry Potter's magical powers decoded

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21 Jun 2017 | 9:18 PM

WASHINGTON: Scientists have explained the genetics behind the magical powers of characters in J K Rowling's popular Harry Potter franchise, in an unusual crash-course on wizarding DNA.

Asteroid collision with Earth inevitable: experts

Asteroid collision with Earth inevitable: experts

21 Jun 2017 | 3:21 PM

LONDON: An asteroid strike on the Earth is just a matter of time and such events could destroy major cities, experts warn.

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20 Jun 2017 | 9:07 PM

LONDON: Volcanic activity may have played a key role in triggering the mass extinction event about 200 million years ago, which set the scene for the rise and age of the dinosaurs, an Oxford study has found.

NASA's Kepler telescope spots over 200 new planet candidates

NASA's Kepler telescope spots over 200 new planet candidates

20 Jun 2017 | 8:57 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA's Kepler space telescope has spotted 219 new potential planets, of which at least 10 are near-Earth size with conditions suitable to host life.

Faces of friends look happier than those of strangers: study

Faces of friends look happier than those of strangers: study

20 Jun 2017 | 4:34 PM

NEW YORK: People are more likely to perceive familiar faces to be happier than those of strangers, even when both express the same emotions, a study suggests.

US group wants to ban sale of smartphones for kids under 13

US group wants to ban sale of smartphones for kids under 13

20 Jun 2017 | 2:31 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, a group in the US state of Colorado has sought a ban on the sale of smartphones for children younger than 13 years to prevent them from getting addicted to the device.

Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat worsens

Too hot to handle: Study shows Earth's killer heat worsens

19 Jun 2017 | 9:41 PM

WASHINGTON: Killer heat is getting worse, a new study shows. Deadly heat waves like the one now broiling the American West are bigger killers than previously thought and they are going to grow more frequent, according to a new comprehensive study of fatal heat conditions. Still, those stretches may be less lethal in the future, as people become accustomed to them.

Our Sun was likely born with a twin star

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19 Jun 2017 | 9:16 PM

LOS ANGELES: Our Sun likely had a twin when it came into existence 4.5 billion years ago, say scientists who found that every star in the universe is born with a companion.

Tips on how to buy a pair of leather shoes

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19 Jun 2017 | 4:21 PM

NEW DELHI: If the right choice is made while buying a pair of leather shoes and they are maintained well, they can last for quite long.

New AI robot creates its own music

New AI robot creates its own music

16 Jun 2017 | 9:23 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, scientists have developed an artificial intelligence robot that can create its own music inspired by the works of musicians like Beethoven and Lady Gaga.

Last month was second hottest May on record: NASA

Last month was second hottest May on record: NASA

16 Jun 2017 | 9:20 PM

WASHINGTON: May 2017 was the second warmest May in 137 years of modern record-keeping, according to a monthly analysis of global temperatures by NASA scientists.

NASA's new space telescope to hunt for signs of alien life

NASA's new space telescope to hunt for signs of alien life

16 Jun 2017 | 5:32 PM

WASHINGTON: NASA's James Webb Space Telescope will search for signs of extraterrestrial life on Earth-sized planets of the recently discovered TRAPPIST planetary system, as well as on Jupiter's moon Europa, the US space agency said on Friday.

New AI robot creates its own music

New AI robot creates its own music

16 Jun 2017 | 3:23 PM

WASHINGTON: In a first, scientists have developed an artificial intelligence robot that can create its own music inspired by the works of musicians like Beethoven and Lady Gaga.

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