The new medicine: hacking our biology

October 1, 2012

Mind-controlled robot (Credit: Doug Oster)

The New Medicine: Hacking Our Biology is part of the series “Engineers of the New Millennium” from IEEE Spectrum magazine and the Directorate for Engineering of the National Science Foundation. These stories explore technological advances in medical inventions to enhance and extend life.

AFTER A STROKE: REGAINING MUSCLE CONTROL — A “music glove” based on the video gameFrets on Fire makes rehabilitation more fun.

SYNAPSE MICROARRAY WILL HOLD NEURONS IN PLACE — Treating Alzheimer’s with drugs that enhance synaptic strength.

PARAPLEGIC PATIENT TESTS A MEDICAL EXOSKELETON — Helping paralyzed people and those with spinal injuries to stand and walk.

BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACE FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY — Sensors use the brain’s electrical signals to power a robotic arm.

ARTIFICIAL MATERIALS TO REPAIR DAMAGED NERVES AND DISAPPEAR — Plastic biomaterials would electrically stimulate nerves to grow faster.

HARVESTING BLOOD FROM LIMPETS FOR A CANCER VACCINE — Using a California snail to treat Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases.

A REVOLUTIONARY CANCER TREATMENT DEVICE INSPIRED BY THE MOSQUITO — Fiberoptic microneedles will deliver chemotherapy drugs—or nanoparticles that are even more cutting-edge.