Every January, the most innovative technology innovations of the year are on display at CES in Las Vegas. But this year, it was the year of health technology and a new innovation in prosthetics. In recent years, biomedical engineers have been working hard to develop prosthetic arm robots for the amputated that can move with a person’s thoughts and feel the touch through a series of electrodes implanted in the patient’s muscles.
While CES is undoubtedly a tornado of gadgetry, conantry and multi-story gadgets promoting Silicon Valley’s dominance, 2020 is definitely the year of health technology. But don’t bother me, it’s still exciting to see cellphone giants announcing their next-generation models, making TVs clearer and more intense, and the concept of flying taxis or bicycles that lead to water.
Note, there are always many cool things that you as a consumer do not want to miss. However, this year at CES 2020, we saw a flock of licensed healthcare professionals on the latest and greatest issue in improving patient life expectancy and quality.
Last December (2019), researchers from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory handed Modular Protective Limb (MPL) to Johnny Matheny, the first man to live with an advanced robot. Matheny, who lost his hand to cancer in 2005, is the first to live with MPL, but there are plans for others to try it this year. While of course there are limitations to Matheny’s ability to use the arm (to sink or drive while wearing it), the primary goal is to push the robotic prosthetic to its limits.
According to Quartz, Johns Hopkins has received more than $ 120 million from the US Department of Defense to help pay for the development of the arm over the past 10 years.
Well, this year at CES, we saw another company push the idea of robotic prosthetics to the next level:
“We’ve seen a lot of technologies that could make our lives marginally more comfortable, exciting or convenient,” said Jeremy Kaplan, head of Digital Trends, the largest independent technology publisher. “But the one device we saw at CES 2020 absolutely exudes us when we realize the consequences of a life-changing event: the BrainCo Dexus.”
The Dexus Arm Lets Thoughts Act
Dexus is a prosthetic hand controlled by the user’s thoughts. Yeah, just sit with it for a minute. We will keep your place.
Okay? Okay. You probably have a minute to go through a mental process like this:
Is it still possible?
What other devices could possibly be controlled by our thoughts?
Does this mean that thoughts are real things?
But quite philosophical. Dexus does not require the hard training of traditional modular intentions. The intentions are hand movements almost seamlessly, as with a biological hand, as Dexus responds to the user’s brain waves. An amputee can put it into operation, and is just thinking about using it. Digital Trends reporters watched a user write intricate calligraphy with Dexus’s hand.
BrainCo’s innovation is the result of years of research supported by Harvard and approved by the Food and Drug Administration this year. At that point it should be ready for purchase, priced at about a quarter the size of other prosthetic arms.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the usual terms of technology, such as “game changing” and “pioneering” pale, when looking at the reality of this device. It’s a technology gizmo that could change what we know we’re human. At a lower cost, it could save or at least dramatically improve lives. And it opens the door to new possibilities for how technology interacts with our body and mind.
Over another winner who succeeded in their categories
BrainCo wasn’t the only one thrilled by the digital trends at the trade show, whose annual list of CES awards is widely expected thanks to the publisher’s high-profile audience.
The complete “Best Of” list includes winners in more than twelve categories. Some of them are the usual suspects.
Samsung’s new mobile phone, Samsung’s latest soundbar, Insta360 camera, Lockly’s improved smart lock design and two smartwatches (Diesel wins Wearables, while Theings wins health and wellness)
Impossible Foods, which won the top award last year, makes another appearance this year in the Tech For Change category for Impossible Chicken’s new meat.
The other winners are a little more sci-fi, like the Manta5 Hydrofoiler XE-1, a bike that rides in the water. Or the Sarcos Guardian XO Exoskeleton, which is like the alien but more elegant robot suit.
And there is the new foldable Lenovo laptop (Tablet? Desktop; all of the above?), TCL’s ultra hi-res LED, the new Pimax virtual reality headset, the Damon motorcycle and Juno Cooler bench. coffee to iced coffee within minutes. You can read the full entries of all the winners here,
It is clear that consumer technology is going in some cool directions. But at the end of the day, it’s technology for change that gets Best in Show.