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Assistive technology

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The Wall Street Journal

CSAIL researchers have developed a robotic arm equipped with a sensorized soft brush that can untangle hair, reports Douglas Belkin for The Wall Street Journal. “The laboratory brush is outfitted with sensors that detect tension," writes Belkin. “That tension reads as pain and is used to determine whether to use long strokes or shorter ones.”

PBS NOVA

PBS Nova premiered “Augmented,” a documentary film that features Prof. Hugh Herr and his research team’s work in developing brain controlled robotic limbs and reimagining amputation procedures. “Herr is teaming up with an injured climber and a surgeon at a leading Boston hospital to test a new approach to surgical amputation that allows prosthetic limbs to move and feel like the real thing,” writes PBS Nova.

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter John Anderson spotlights “Augmented” a new PBS documentary featuring Prof. Hugh Herr and his work in robotic limbs and surgery.

The Boston Globe

A new documentary titled “Augmented” spotlights Prof. Hugh Herr and his work developing bionic limbs at the MIT Media Lab, reports Dana Gerber for The Boston Globe. “The long-term hope for the procedure is that people with Ewing amputations will be able to further adapt to the bionic limbs shown in the film, which Herr’s team is developing at MIT,” writes Gerber.

The New York Times

New York Times reporter Amanda Morris speaks with Eric Baker, an avid outdoorsperson with chronic debilitating joint diseases, about the GRIT Freedom chair, an all-terrain wheelchair invented by MIT researchers. “With the new chair, Mr. Baker hops curbs, hunts, visits the beach, and can cross mud, rocks and gravel,” writes Morris. 

Forbes

Forbes contributor Stephanie MacConnell spotlights the work of research affiliate Shriya Srinivasan PhD '20 in a roundup of women under the age of 30 who are transforming U.S. healthcare. Srinivasan is “working on technology that will enable patients to control and even ‘feel’ sensation through their prosthetic limb,” notes MacConnell.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Bruce Y. Lee writes that MIT researchers have found that lack of sleep can affect a person’s gait and that catching up on sleep can improve gait control for those who are chronically sleep deprived. Lee writes that the findings demonstrate how, “lack of sleep may affect your ability to move your body and navigate in subtle ways.”

PBS NewsHour

Reporting for the PBS NewsHour, Miles O’Brien visits alumnus Dexter Ang ‘05 to learn more about how his startup, Pison, is developing a wrist-worn sensor that detects the faint electrical signals controlling simple hand gestures, allowing users to control digital interfaces using brain signals. “The device is connected to a smartphone, allowing control of it or other devices, conveyor belts in factories, drones, even pinball machines, to name a few,” notes O’Brien. He adds that Ang was inspired by his late mother, who contracted ALS, as “he wanted to make her life easier.”

Fast Company

Professor Xuanhe Zhao and his colleagues have developed a new soft robotic prosthetic hand that offers the wearer more tactile control. “You can use it to grab something as thin and fragile as a potato chip, or grasp another hand in a firm-but-safe handshake,” writes Mark Wilson for Fast Company. “By design, this rubbery, air-filled hand is naturally compliant.”

Boston Globe

Matthew Shifrin writes for The Boston Globe about his personal experience using the TRANSFORM device created by the Tangible Media Group, an interactive display that fuses technology and design to render 3-D models in real-time. Shifrin, who is blind, notes that TRANSFORM allowed him “to track facial expressions like a sighted person would, and its larger size lets me feel the nuances that I can’t feel on a real face.”

Dezeen

Dezeen reporter Rima Sabina Aouf writes that MIT researchers have created an inflatable prosthetic hand that can be produced for a fraction of the cost of similar prosthetics. “The innovation could one day help some of the 5 million people in the world who have had an upper-limb amputation but can't afford expensive prostheses.”

Mashable

Engineers at MIT have developed a soft, inflatable, neuroprosthetic hand that allows users to carry out a variety of tasks with ease, reports Emmett Smith for Mashable. “People who tested out the hand were able to carry out quite complex tasks, such as zipping up a suitcase and pouring a carton of juice.”

CBS Boston

CBS Boston’s Liam Martin visits with Dianne Vitkus, a surgical physical assistant who was paralyzed in a fall last summer and recently received a Freedom Chair, an off-roading wheelchair developed by GRIT, an MIT startup. “The technology is simple. There’s a lever on each side that connects to a bike chain and allows Dianne to propel the chair,” says Martin. “It also has heavy-duty tires and a front wheel for stability.” 

The Boston Globe

Boston Globe reporter Nate Weitzer spotlights the GRIT Freedom Chair, an all-terrain wheelchair developed by Global Research Innovation and Technology, an MIT startup. “The GRIT Freedom Chair can go where regular wheelchairs can’t – including grass, mud, or rocky terrain,” writes Weitzer. “For athletes who use wheelchairs, it offers the opportunity to compete in events such as a Spartan Race, or the ability to join friends on a hike or a beach day.”

WHDH 7

7 News spotlights how MIT researchers have developed a new wearable sensor that can be used to help people with ALS communicate. “The wearable technology, known as Comfortable Decoders, recognizes tiny facial movements that can help patients communicate simple statements, like ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I love you.’”