Artificial hearts, skin guns and other new medical technologies that will blow your mind so hard, you'll need to regenerate your skull

Artificial hearts, skin guns and other new medical technologies that will blow your mind so hard, you'll need to regenerate your skull

CultureJune 04, 2014

Soon treating amputations, third-degree burns and fatal heart conditions will be as easy as prescribing a 7-year-old child Ritalin.

The Skin Gun

Yeah, it’s really called The Skin Gun, and yes it works a lot like spray paint. This amazing new technology harvests stem cells from the burn victim’s own skin and mixes them up in a solution that, when sprayed on a burn, begins to regenerate skin. The procedure, if you could call it that, takes an hour and a half, and after four days bandaged in a dressing, complete with fake circulation that transports amino acids, antibiotics and electrolytes to the burned area, you’re good to go.

Brain Computer Interface

The Brain Computer Interface is the newest advancement in successfully restoring motor movement to those who’ve lost it. A computer chip is placed in the brain stem and connected to prosthetic limbs. The chip translates the electrical messages the brain produces into commands for the robot limbs so you’re controlling the prosthetics with your thoughts. At the University of Pittsburgh, this technology allowed a quadriplegic woman to pick up objects for the first time in decades.

Modular Prosthetic Limb

The scientists and engineers at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory made a prosthetic arm with more than 100 sensors that measure everything from grip to temperature. It works off of 17 individual motors that allow the user to manipulate all of his or her fingers and enjoy hand movement most people never do. This limb can be programmed by the user and has been successfully integrated with the Brain Computer Interface.

iLimb

This hand is lightweight, has independently moving phalanges and translates muscle movements originating in the residual limb into commands for your new tech-y one. You can pre-program movements to pick everything from a pencil to grocery bags, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to use those bionic fingers on your girlfriend. There’s even an app for it — the hand, not the cyborg sex — so you can program your movements wirelessly. Now Siri can have dominion over more than just your social life.

BiOM Ankle System

This prosthetic leg was designed by a man who lost his real leg rock climbing. He couldn’t find anything that worked with his lifestyle, so he made some amazing new ones. They use a motor, computer and a spring to replace an ankle. The computer detects what kind of terrain you’re on and adjusts the motor to accommodate accordingly. Amputees can rock climb, run and, just like everyone else, humiliate you on Pike’s Peak.

SynCardia Artificial Heart

Most artificial organs are still in the works because the body generally rejects new things being put in it. Just ask Pamela Anderson. But the SynCardia Artificial Heart has replaced more than 1,000 bum tickers. While only a temporary fix for those on the transplant list, this PVC pipe, mason-jar looking contraption actually pumps 9.5 liters of blood through your body every minute. So, if all those years of cheeseburgers and cigarettes did you dirty, your heart is now replaceable.

Argus II

The Argus II is a bionic eye. It restores the light-sensing photoreceptors for those who suffer from a disease called retinitis pigmentosa. Doctors put a chip in a muscle near the retina and hook it up to a camera mounted on a pair of snazzy sunglasses. The camera records what’s going on and relays that message to the chip. People who are fitted with this device won’t hav 20/20, but they are able to see light and make out objects in front of them. In best cases, they can even read large-print text.

The ATI Neurostimulator

The ATI Neurostimulator is electric aspirin. If you suffer from chronic migraines or other types of headaches stemming from the sphenopalatine ganglion, which is a facial nerve bundle that literally nothing works on, you can have this device implanted in your cheekbone. The tip of the small implant rests on the nerves, and when you feel a headache coming on, you simply put a remote control on your cheek. The device stimulates the nerves and blocks the pain. Now you can get out of bed and get back to that video game, or go to work. Whatever.

Genomic-Based Tests for Cancerous Tumors

Cancer is a big deal, and it’s often battled aggressively with chemotherapy and radiation. However, those therapies can sometimes hurt the patient more than help. It can be like pulling out all your teeth when you only have one with a cavity. Genomic-based tests allow doctors to look into the genes of a tumor and pick out its most vulnerable areas. Now instead of just killing everything, they can proceed with a more targeted treatment.