Giving Movement Back to Patients With Spinal Problems...

As technology has rapidly improved in recent years, there have been enormous advancements in medical treatments. With around one-quarter of Americans suffering from musculoskeletal impairments, spinal issues are no exception. According to IEEE Spectrum, researchers at Columbia’s School of Engineering are attempting to help the 3% of children diagnosed with the abnormal curving of the spine called scoliosis with an advanced mechanism. Currently, children with this condition typically must spend years inside a rigid, plastic, and uncomfortable brace. The researchers are now hoping to replace this outdated tech with a new “smart exoskeleton.” Their prototype is able to bend and move with the patient’s body, while maintaining targeted force on inhibited regions of the spine. This allows the children to participate in a multitude of activities they would not be able to otherwise. Taking things a step further, the brace can gather data from sensors measuring the amount of force required to align the body. Providing information on how a patient’s condition is responding to a particular treatment, can offer better insight about their effectiveness. In a seemingly science fictional technical advancement, Fox News Health reports that scientists in Australia have developed another “bionic spine” device to return movement to paralyzed patients using brain synapses. While there are existing devices that allow paraplegics to regain some movement, most have a high risk of infection or other complications. This new implant measures only about an inch long and 0.12 inches wide, roughly the size of a paper clip. This allows for minimally invasive surgery. The bionic spine previously tested on sheep, uses electrodes to detect signals from the motor cortex and are then transmitted to the small device implanted inside the shoulder. After these signals are converted into commands, they are sent to bionic limbs...

Smartphones Can Do Everything Else, So Why Shouldn’t They Be Able to Unlock Your Car?...

In an age where people are surrounded by technology at every turn, most companies are looking to jump on the bandwagon of new and cool tech. Considering that four in 10 vehicle owners truly love their cars — not just like them, but as with any gearhead, they really do love them — automobile manufacturers are no exception. According to Venture Beat, Swedish car maker Volvo just announced an exciting new project in which they plan to replace physical car keys with a smartphone app. Kicking off in Sweden this Spring, Volvo’s pilot program will start offering new car models without any kind of key. By 2017 they plan to make the system commercially available. The app will allow the user to both unlock and start their car remotely through a Bluetooth connection. One of its advertised perks is that sharing keys between single-car families will be made much easier since the key can be easily be sent to a spouse or friend’s phone. While other car manufacturers have come up with similar concepts, like BMW’s remote-controlled fobs, Volvo is one of the first to implement mobile devices in the mix. They share the spot with Tesla’s Model S car, which allows drivers to start their vehicle through a mobile app. However, Tesla’s app was made more as a back up for anyone who may have lost their keys. “New technology has to make our customers’ lives easier and save them time. Mobility needs are evolving and so are our customers’ expectation to access cars in an uncomplicated way. Our innovative digital key technology has the potential to completely change how a Volvo can be accessed and shared,” said Henrik Green, vice president of product strategy and vehicle line management. While Volvo’s main concern...

Socially Responsible Mattress Company Leesa Expands Buissness To Canada...

According to the Seattle Times, more than 140 new, luxury mattress were donated to the Union Gospel Mission and were carried into the Pioneer Square Facility for residents in the recovery and rehab programs on Wednesday. Each Leesa mattress is valued at $525. Hope Place, a women and children’s shelter in Rainier Valley, received another similar donation. The total donation is estimated at $150,000 from the Virginia-based company. Leesa, a leading online mattress company and head of the industry-leading social impact program, will be expanding its business to all Canadian provinces and territories. After achieving $30 million in sales in the U.S. and U.K., and donating more than 3,000 mattresses to shelters last year, Leesa is confident that they will succeed in Canadia. David Wolfe, Leesa’s co-founder and chief executive officer said, “We’ve had a close connection to Canada since we chose Ottawa-based Shopify as our e-commerce platform and became one of the fastest growing companies in 2015.” “But, more important than that,” said Wolfe, is that “news of how comfortable our mattress is has reached Canada and we are constantly asked whether we ship there.” Considering that an estimated 20% of American adults (around 42 million people) report that pain or discomfort interrupts their sleep a few nights a week, Leesa’s claims of mattress quality are very welcome to the people at the shelters that received donations, Canada and the United States. Leesa was named one of Forbes’ 20 Startups to Watch in 2016 and was also recognized as one of the world’s fastest growing companies. Because customers can order their mattresses online exclusively, they are also delivered in a box directly to customers’ doors. The company works to set the bar for social responsibility in the U.S. and hopes to in Canada...

ID Card Now Available For People Who Stutter...

Identification cards are now available for individuals in the United States who have a stutter. Stuttering is considered a disability and is covered by the Americans with Disability Act. Despite this and the fact that approximately three million Americans and 70 million people worldwide stutter, many do not take this disability seriously and are discriminated against and belittled for it. The card will speak for individuals who stutter when they are able to speak for themselves in stressful public situations where communication is essential, such as airport security and customs. The card was created in response to an incident that recently transpired involving Kylie Simmons, a U.S. resident who was detained after stuttering the words “Costa Rica” when going through customs at an Atlanta airport. The 20-year-old woman had just returned from studying abroad in Costa Rica and has struggled with the speech impediment her whole life. Simmons’ phone was taken away and she was detained for an hour, causing her to miss her connecting flight. “I felt inferior, intimidated and bullied,” she told The Mighty. Immediately afterwards, the young woman went directly to file a complaint with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol office. While a supervisor on the phone issued her a verbal apology, Simmons wrote a letter asking for a formal apology. “What upset me the most was that the [customs agent] addressed my stutter as a ‘problem,’” Simmons wrote in her letter to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “I looked him in the eyes and explained to him that my disability was not a problem, but was simply a personal challenge for me that makes it difficult for me to communicate… I was continuously told that I was lying and that I was being dishonest. All my life, I...

Target Will No Longer Be Offering Recycling Services to Montana Residents...

According to NBC Montana, retail giant Target plans to end its glass recycling project all across the state by the end of February. This news comes especially hard to environmentally-inclined ears since Target is the only retailer in the state to offer glass recycling and has been since 2010. What originally began as a couple of bins outside of the store escalated to about eight 20-yard roll off boxes filled each week. Some Missoula residents reported to have saved their glass recycling all week and driven into town to deposit it. The reasons cited behind the program’s shutdown were purely financial. Each shipment of recyclable materials supposedly costed thousands of dollars, and a representative of Four Corners Recycling in Bozeman says it costs $54 a ton to crush up the glass and ship it to its final destination, Utah. Target spokespeople say that there was not sufficient infrastructure in place at a state level to continue the program or proper facilities on a corporate level. Other problems common to mass recycling programs, like the contamination of shipments by bottle lids and other rubbish caused some glass shipments to be dumped in local landfills. It may be surprising for some to see a lack of support for government subsidized recycling programs in the wake of the ever-growing green awareness and environmental movements. Investments in glass, paper, and aluminum recycling plants seem to be a very good investment when it comes to the future. A single ton of paper recycled can save up to 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space and 7,000 gallons of water. However disappointing the recent news with Target, residents of Missoula and other Montana locals still have options for recycling. Companies like I.E. Recycling specialize in...