Study: Stretchable prosthetic skin could restore sense of touch | Engineers in India develop robotic exoskeleton | Spider's vibration-sensing organs inspire wearable device
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December 11, 2014
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News for Professionals in the Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics Profession

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Study: Stretchable prosthetic skin could restore sense of touch
South Korean scientists are investigating a stretchable "smart skin" made of silicon nanoribbon electronics and equipped with strain, pressure, moisture and temperature sensors that could be attached to prosthetic limbs, enabling users to regain a sense of touch. In the study, published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers noted that prostheses replacing different parts of the body would require different sensors, as the sense of touch varies throughout the body. Wired.co.uk (U.K.) (12/11)
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Science and Technology
Engineers in India develop robotic exoskeleton
Two recent graduates of an engineering college in Chennai, India, have developed the ManusyaWAR, or Human Walking Assist Robot, an exoskeleton that fits over the user's legs. The user wears a glove that has an accelerometer to control the orthosis using the device's micro-electro-mechanical system, a wireless receiver and a micro-controller. The device uses an algorithm to sense limb position during walking and motors at the hip and knee to help with limb rotation. The Times of India (12/10)
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Spider's vibration-sensing organs inspire wearable device
Scientists from South Korea's Seoul National University drew inspiration from extremely sensitive "slit organs," a series of parallel grooves on the legs of a spider, to develop an ultrasensitive wearable device that can detect vibrations. "The opportunities for this sort of functionality are significant in applications ranging from health monitoring to prosthetic control," said materials scientist John A. Rogers. Chemical & Engineering News (12/10)
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Light-based sensors could control prosthetic limbs
A light-based sensor developed by scientists at Scotland's University of St. Andrews could be used to control prosthetic limbs, according to a study published in the journal Advanced Materials. Plastic semiconductors sense muscle contractions and transmit the information via photocurrents to a robotic arm. "This sensor can distinguish different types of contractions and can add extra functionality to active prosthetics enabling natural movements of the limbs," said co-inventor Ashu Bansal. The Times of Malta (12/11)
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Other News
10 ways to inspire creativity in your staff.
Fostering creative business practices isn't as hard as it seems and can lead to smart solutions. Use these ten techniques to help inspire and encourage creativity in your staff. Read the article and learn 10 ways to get the creative juices flowing.

Medical News
Health ranking of states reflects increased obesity, less exercise
America's Health Rankings has named Hawaii the healthiest state for three consecutive years, while Mississippi was listed as the least healthy this year. Almost 10% of adults reported having diabetes, while 23.5% said they did not exercise in the last 30 days, up from 22.9% last year. Obesity rates grew from 27.6% in 2013 to 29.4% this year, researchers noted. USA Today (12/10)
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New type 2 diabetes drug shows promise
C-10, a new drug developed at Ohio University, inhibited the development of obesity-related type 2 diabetes in treatment groups eating a high-fat diet. The drug also prevented fat masses from increasing and improved insulin sensitivity. Researchers are planning clinical trials. Diabetes.co.uk (U.K.) (12/10)
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Business Tips and Advice
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Legislative and Regulatory
2015 Medicare changes affect O&P
Medicare reimbursement has already undergone significant changes, and more are possible in 2015, said Joe McTernan, AOPA's director of reimbursement services. In this article, he reviews such changes as new K and L codes in the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, a proposed prior-authorization rule that would include certain lower-limb HCPCS codes and possible inclusion of off-the-shelf orthoses in competitive bidding. O&P Almanac (Adobe Flash required) (12/2014)
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Trend Watch
Mass. firm fits Paralympian with new arms
United Prosthetics in Dorchester, Mass., recently fit Irish Paralympian Katie O'Halloran, who was born without arms, with two prostheses. The facility, which began in 1914 as United Limb and Brace, fits many patients with upper-extremity prostheses, as well as the more common lower-limb devices. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (12/11)
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AOPA News
Breaking news from AOPA
A RAC provision has been included in the Cromnibus Bill and is expected to pass without incident. Read the provision. Korean university develops smart prosthetic skin that helps patients feel. American Prosthetics & Orthotics announces new Ames office. Earn 2 CEUs with this month's O&P Almanac. Act fast: Only a few of AOPA's Coding and Billing Seminar manuals are left. All this and more in today's AOPA Breaking News!
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Upcoming events
Jan. 14: Fill In the Blanks: VA Contracting and the New Template, webinar conference. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 9-10: Mastering Medicare: Essential Coding & Billing Seminar, Savannah, Ga. Learn more or register online.
Feb. 11: Find Success: Tips, Strategies and Understanding the Appeals Process, webinar conference. Learn more or register online
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SmartQuote
A painting that is well-composed is half-finished."
-- Pierre Bonnard,
French painter
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