Mind-Controlled Robotic Exoskeleton Kicks off World Cup

A paraplegic man kicked the first ball of the World Cup today thanks to a special mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton fashioned by scientists at Duke University. The scientific advancement could signal a future where wheelchairs become obsolete.

What's the Latest?

Brazilian superstar Neymar may have scored the decisive goals during his squad's victory over Croatia, but the most important kick of the day may not have come from human feet. A paraplegic man, aided by a special mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton fashioned by scientists at Duke University, performed the ceremonial kickoff opening the World Cup. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis, the lead neuroscientist on the project, had targeted the World Cup as the optimal occasion to introduce the new technology:

 "I thought it was a way to show the World Cup can be more than just football and parties."

What's the Big Idea?

Popular Science has a thorough explanation of how the amazing exoskeleton works:

"The exoskeleton -- a system comprising a helmet implanted with a microchip that sticks out from the underside; a T-shirt loaded with sensors; metal leg braces; and a battery worn in a backpack -- is set in motion when the user envisions himself making the kick. The chip translates those electronic commands to a digital language that powers the skeleton, which then moves accordingly. The T-shirt vibrates to enhance the user's sensation of movement (and eliminate the need to look at his feet to see if he's stepping forward)."

Nicolelis states his goal is for formerly handicapped people to be walking through the streets in these devices within ten years. He even thinks that a victim of paralysis could use an exoskeleton to compete in the Olympics by 2034. Showing off the exoskeleton at the World Cup allows Nicolelis' team to accomplish another one of its goals: to spread hope to the people of the world. And it would have, if the major television networks had televised it...

Read more at Popular Science

Photo credit: Walk Again Project

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

Meet the Bajau sea nomads — they can reportedly hold their breath for 13 minutes

The Bajau people's nomadic lifestyle has given them remarkable adaptions, enabling them to stay underwater for unbelievable periods of time. Their lifestyle, however, is quickly disappearing.

Wikimedia Commons
Culture & Religion
  • The Bajau people travel in small flotillas throughout the Phillipines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, hunting fish underwater for food.
  • Over the years, practicing this lifestyle has given the Bajau unique adaptations to swimming underwater. Many find it straightforward to dive up to 13 minutes 200 feet below the surface of the ocean.
  • Unfortunately, many disparate factors are erasing the traditional Bajau way of life.
Keep reading Show less

Life is hard: Jordan Peterson and the nature of suffering

The Canadian professor's old-school message is why many started listening to him.

Jordan Peterson addresses students at The Cambridge Union on November 02, 2018 in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire. (Photo by Chris Williamson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • The simplicity of Peterson's message on suffering echoes Buddha and Rabbi Hillel.
  • By bearing your suffering, you learn how to become a better person.
  • Our suffering is often the result of our own actions, so learn to pinpoint the reasons behind it.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less