Revolutionary prosthetics, and new pandemic concerns

Revolutionary prosthetics, and new pandemic concerns

These prosthetics break the mold with third thumbs, spikes, and superhero skins

Traditionally, prosthetics designers have looked to the human body for inspiration. Prosthetics were seen as replacements for missing body parts; hyper-realistic bionic legs and arms were the holy grail. 

But we’re now witnessing a movement in alternative prosthetics, a form of assistive tech that bucks convention by making no attempt to blend in. Instead of making devices that mimic the appearance of a “normal” arm or leg, a new wave of designers are creating fantastical prosthetics that might wriggle like a tentacle, light up, or even shoot glitter. Read the full story.

—Joanna Thompson

Joanna’s story is from the latest print issue of MIT Technology Review, which is all about design. Sign up for a subscription to read the full thing when it comes out later this month.

We don’t need to panic about a bird flu pandemic—yet

How worried should we be about bird flu? Some have warned that avian flu will be the next deadly pandemic. Others have said the risk is no different from what it was a few years ago.

There’s no denying that outbreaks of the virus have had a huge impact on birds in recent months, and that the current outbreak is significantly worse than what we’ve seen in the past. But although we’ve seen a small number of cases in people, there’s no evidence to suggest it poses a bigger threat to humans now than in the past. Read the full story.

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