Published July 23rd, 2014 by

Once every few decades or so, a new technology comes along that is truly revolutionary. 3D printing is one such technology. With the potential to change a number of modern industries, 3D printing can truly change the world. One area where it has already begun to do so is in the medical field of prosthetics.

Thanks to 3D printers, engineers and doctors are now partnering to create artificial limbs more quickly and cheaply than ever before. This is allowing people from all over the world greater access to replacement limbs. Not only that, but these new prosthetics are custom-built to individual specifications, making them more comfortable from the very beginning.

3D printing works by spraying melted thin plastic filament through a nozzle. This filament is built up

layer by layer using computer-generated renderings of an existing object. This allows the printer to create almost anything – including limbs. Because the limbs are customized for a single person, they are far less expensive than an artificial limb that has been mass produced and then sized.

This is particularly helpful in the area of child prosthetics. Because children grow so quickly, they need new prosthetics fairly often. This can be extremely expensive, and in many cases results in a child having to make due with an ill-fitting prosthetic. In some cases, they may even go without. A traditional prosthetic can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. In contrast, a 3D printed prosthetic can be produced for a few hundred dollars at most, and in some cases quite a bit less.

Another amazing example of how 3D printing is revolutionizing the prosthetics industry can be found in the

roboarm

robohand.net

Sudan. Robohand is a 3D printed alternative to traditional prosthetic devices. These prostheses are custom fitted, anatomically driven, functional devices. For the first time, patients with a prosthetic hand will have the ability to open and close all of their fingers. Their Roboarm device provides this gross grasp capability with both palm up and palm down capabilities, and their Robofinger allows for improved fine motor skills.

To do this, existing joint motion mechanically moves the custom-made prosthetic. This allows for a more natural movement and feel. Even more incredibly, these devices do not require surgery, motors, or battery packs. This greatly reduces their cost as well as maintenance requirements. They are designed to be comfortable, affordable, and incredibly durable.

Prosthetics cover far more than missing limbs, however. 3D printing is also a godsend for people who are missing facial parts such as ears. This technology allows a patient’s remaining ear to be scanned and then flipped to a mirror image, which is then printed. 3D printing is also being used to create devices such as cranial implants. It is expected that very soon, 3D printed hip and knee implants will become common.

One of the biggest advantages to 3D printed prosthetics and implants is how quickly they can be made. Instead of taking weeks to be manufactured and customized, a 3D printed prosthetic device can be created and shipped out to the hospital within a day. Not only that, but because these devices can be customized to the individual’s needs, they are far more comfortable. Studies have shown that nearly a quarter of the people who have a prosthetic device currently do not wear them because they’re uncomfortable. 3D printing can greatly reduce that number by providing patients with devices that are more comfortable from the very beginning.

3D printing technology is continuing to improve, and is becoming more and more accessible. Only a few years ago, these devices were only available to schools or large corporations. Now, anyone can pick one up online for around the same cost as an average computer. It may be possible that some day, patients will be able to print their own prosthetics at home after downloading an existing model. When combined with 3D scanning technology, you could create almost anything.

Published July 23rd, 2014 by

Which 3D TV is the Best?

When it comes to buying a new television for your home, it is important to compare your choices before you head into the store or online to buy. Though various brands and models may appear to be the same, often one will stand out over the rest; whether that’s in ratings or in technical ability and picture quality. In this article, I compare the Samsung, Sony Bravia, and Vizio M 50” smart TV models for your convenience. All information was current as of 7/22/14.

Samsung 50” Model UN50H6400AFXZA – 4.9 Stars

Model UN50H6400AFXZA

samsung.com

This 50” LED HDTV from Samsung has a number of features that consumers will love. Featuring Smart Hub technology that allows you connect to the internet, users will be able to access online programs through Hulu Plus, Netflix, HBO GO, ESPN Score Center, and more. The S Recommendation feature will provide you with suggestions for what to watch next based on your previous viewing preferences.
Two pairs of included 3D Active glasses allows you to watch your shows and movies in a whole new way. The 3D Sound Plus synchronizes the sound for more realistic audio, truly immersing you in the action with Dolby MS10 speakers. For fans of traditional HD viewing, this TV has a full 1080p display and premium DTS Sound 5.1 decoding with DTS Studio Sound processing. Four HDMI inputs and three USB ports allow you to connect a variety of peripherals, while the built-in Ethernet port lets you connect the TV to your home network. A Smart Touch remote allows you to control the television with spoken commands. This can be upgraded to gesture control with an optional Samsung Skype TV camera.
This model is available on BestBuy.com for $999.99, but is not yet available on Amazon.com.

MODEL NUMBER: M501d-A2R

vizio.com

Vizio M Series 50” Model M510d-A2R – 4.35 Stars

The Vizio M Series 50” LED HDTV is Smart enabled, allowing you to access online content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Facebook, and Pandora through Vizio’s Internet Apps Plus. The built-in WiFi features allows you to wirelessly connect to your home work. The 1080p resolution and 240 Hz refresh rate means higher quality display for sports, action movies, and video games. You can also choose to use the 8 pairs of 3D glasses to experience your entertainment in a different way. A auto volume leveler keeps TV commercials and movie soundtracks at a reasonable level, preventing those annoying sudden increases.
The Vizio M has four HDMI ports and two USB inputs to allow you to easily connect your home theater system and other devices to your television. Connect your camera or video recorder to view your home movies and pictures on your television in full HD quality. The Razor LED display provides dynamic contrast and vibrant color, while the Smart Dimming technology automatically adjusts the screen brightness to ensure dark-scene details are clearly visible.
This model is available on BestBuy.com for $729.99 and on Amazon.com for $1,430.00.

Sony Bravia 50” Model KDL50W800B – 4.35 Stars

Model KDL50W800B

sony.com

The Sony Bravia 50” LED HDTV features a crystal-clear 1080p quality display. The X-Rality PRO picture engine allows for a 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring clarity even during fast-moving sports and action movies. The clear Audio+ technology matches the clear picture with equally clear surround sound. Two pairs of 3D glasses allow you to experience your movies and entertainment in a whole new dimension.
The Smart capabilities of this television allow you to access internet applications for YouTube, Netflix, Pandora and more, providing you with a wide variety of entertainment options. Four HDMI ports allow you to connect your television to a home theater system while the two USB inputs allow you to connect any USB device. Connect to your home network using the built-in WiFi feature as well.
This model is available on BestBuy.com for $999.99 or on Amazon.com for $958.90.

Published July 23rd, 2014 by

The Best of E3 2014

This year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) may have been devoid of new console debuts, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t

E3 Electronics Expo logo

www.e3expo.com

plenty of new gaming technology worth drooling over. Though there were some disappointing no shows (I’m looking at you, Valve Seam OS and Steam Machine), there were still plenty of announcements that got my blood pumping. These are my picks for the best announcements out of E3 this year.

Alienware Alpha Steam Machine

Okay, this first one isn’t technically an announcement. There have been rumors about these Steam machines for quite some time, and at CES this year there was an Alienware prototype that gamers could look at – but not play. At this year’s E3, we finally got to try it out. Though still not finished, the Alienware Alpha looked great; games ran smoothly enough to impress. I look forward to seeing more of this Steam machine in the future.

PlayStation TV

I don’t think anyone expected that PlayStation TV would be making its way to American consumers so soon. The PlayStation TV box is very similar to the Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and Roku 3 boxes, with one notable exception: it will feature access to a ton of games. PlayStation TV will be able to access a number of games from the PS4, PS3, PS2, PS1, and even PS Vita and PSP games. That’s a lot of potential, and fans of some of Sony’s more classic games are sure to love it.

Square Enix Project Flare

Though the technology needed to run Project Flare is still in the demo stage, this idea has the potential to truly revolutionize gaming. Web-connected supercomputers creating worlds that are 17 times larger than Skyrim, allowing gamers to play single or multiplayer games without the use of a console is intriguing to say the least. This “cloud-gaming 2.0” could mean fantastic things for games, and I look forward to seeing what Square Enix plans to do with it.

SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker

The Sentry Eye Tracker aims to allow players to control computer games using their eye movements. This could truly bring games to the next level of immersion, as reaction time would now be able to match the speed of thought; as soon as you glance an an enemy, the games crosshairs move to the target automatically. Professional gamers are already looking at this new peripheral to give them a steep advantage over their competition.

Sony is also working on similar eye-tracking technology, though SteelSeries is the first to test it with gamers. Both system use infrared cameras to track and measure eye movement. This may be the first true enhancement to mouse and controller input systems that we’ve seen in a long time.

Games, Games, Games

Of course, you can’t talk about E3 without mentioning some of the great games that were announced and shown off during the conference. First on my list is Tom Clancy’s The Division. It’s not set to arrive until next year, but this post-apocalyptic world looks absolutely beautiful in spite of the massive destruction. Using Ubisoft’s Snowdrop game engine, this virtual world really comes to life. For the first time, you’ll really have full tactical control of your squad, with the ability to approach enemies in a variety of ways. Additionally, enemy responses will change depending on your tactical choices, allowing for greater replayablility.

Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is another game that I’m extremely excited about. This sci-fi exploration game is a procedurally generated universe that is quite literally infinite. Though we haven’t heard much about the game’s narrative and purpose yet, I imagine you could spend hours simply scanning and cataloging the creatures, plants, minerals and locations you discover. For an indie game being created by just four people, this game is incredibly impressive. I can’t wait to hear a release date.