27E93C3A-83B9-4595-91CE-57506165869F Created with sketchtool. The Check Up – Robots, Photography, and Ghosts

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  Last updated July 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

The Check Up is a weekly feature highlighting some of the best, most fascinating, most important, or simply unmissable health, medical, and human stories from around the web.

Machines with Brains

I could devote an entire column to this series of articles about how robotics is changing and will change our lives. If I had to pick one must-read piece it would be this one about the most advanced robotic mind-controlled prosthetic arm in the world, and the man who will be attached to it. After his arm was amputated for medical reasons, Johnny Matheny had a metal rod attached directly to the bone. The prosthetic bolts to this rod, and also connects with his skin. The hand has articulating fingers and incredible range. And there’s so much more in this series, like companionship robots, soft grip robots, and pop-culture – like why do robots always seem to be cooler than the humans characters in sci fi?

Life-saving Photos

Are you hungry for a feast for your eyes? This photo series of medical machines is equal parts beautiful, uncanny, and awesome (in the old, filled-with-awe kind of way). Reiner Reidler spent five years photographing modern, lifesaving technology, and he brings such reverence to his imagery, you share his feeling of respect towards these inanimate objects. Also worth the read for photo nerds are his behind-the-scenes descriptions of how he captured the images.

Gonorrhoea Got Scarier

Like the infection itself, terrifying news about gonorrhoea was everywhere this week. But it can’t hurt for me to remind everyone again: play and stay safe out there! The STI is rapidly becoming resistant to all of our antibiotics. It has to do with how quickly the infection-causing bacteria can adapt to our drugs, and it’s a dire warning about antibiotic resistance in general. But there is a little rainbow peeking out between the clouds – recent research suggests a possible path to a vaccine.

Implantable Seizure Trackers

And the award for best news of the week goes to this story about a device that can warn sufferers of epilepsy of potential seizures. After being implanted under the skin on the scalp, it records brainwaves and transmits this information to an app. It can then send alerts about the likelihood of a seizure. It would be impossible to quantify just how much of an impact this will have, but suffice to say it will be absolutely life changing. It will mean people will have opportunities to work, travel, live independently … the list goes on. It’s incredibly exciting.

And finally, this video shows that while ghosts aren’t real, seeing and feeling them very much is. Until next time, spooksters!

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About the Author

Casey Harrigan
Casey Harrigan (@caseyharri) is a Contributing Editor for The Body and Culture on Australia’s Science Channel. Her academic background is in science communication, and her professional background is in science and factual television. Don’t get her started talking about sci fi movies, comedy, interesting animal facts, or Beyonce because she will never stop.


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Science and technology is as much a part of our cultural fabric as art, music, theatre and literature. They play a significant role in our daily lives, yet, in a world dependent on science, we often take them for granted. Australia’s Science Channel believes every citizen has a right, and a responsibility, to be informed, and our mission is to create programs to bring that about.

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