TIME Innovation

See the Men Who Got Their Hands Cut Off and Replaced With Bionic Ones

Milorad Marinkovic holds an egg with his bionic arm with his bionic arm in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 24, 2015.
Ronald Zak—AP Milorad Marinkovic holds an egg with his bionic arm in Vienna, Austria on Feb. 24, 2015.

"I can do almost everything with it. I just don't have any feeling in it."

Three Austrian men who lost motor control over their hands volunteered for a breakthrough surgical procedure to amputate their lifeless appendages and replace them with bionic hands.

Doctors hailed the operations as the first cases of “bionic reconstruction,” in which the mechanical hand is hardwired directly into the patient’s arm, enabling the patient to open and close the fingers without external controls, the Associated Press reports.

Milorad Marinkovic demonstrates writing with his bionic hand as he poses for a photograph at his home in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs. The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction,” which includes voluntary amputation, transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Ronald Zak—AP

Nerves and muscles transplanted from the patient’s legs run signals from the brain directly into the prosthetic arm. “I can do almost everything with it,” one patient, Milorad Marinkovic, 30, told the Associated Press. “I just don’t have any feeling in it.”

Milorad Marinkovic shows his bionic arm as he poses for a photograph at his home in Vienna, Austria, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Three Austrians have replaced injured hands with bionic ones that they can control using nerves and muscles transplanted into their arms from their legs. The three men are the first to undergo what doctors refer to as “bionic reconstruction,” which includes voluntary amputation, transplantation of nerves and muscles and learning to use faint signals from them to command the hand. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
Ronald Zak—AP

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 25

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The U.S. wants to hack your phone because it doesn’t have the real spies it needs.

By Patrick G. Eddington at Reuters

2. Eight universities account for half of all history professors in the U.S. How did that happen?

By Joel Warner and Aaron Clauset in Slate

3. Bill Gates is investing in low-tech impact entrepreneurs in India.

By David Bank in Entrepreneur

4. “Liquid biopsy” can detect cancer from a few drops of blood.

By Michael Standaert in MIT Technology Review

5. Let’s build the infrastructure to make microfinance institutions into true innovation hubs.

By Jessica Collier in Medium

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Saying ‘Open Sesame’ Actually Unlocks Doors Now

A new app wirelessly unlocks doors by a classic spoken command

The expression “open sesame” was popularized by a folk tale in One Thousand and One Nights, but it’s taken roughly three centuries for the expression to start opening doors in real life.

MIT graduate student Dheera Venkatraman calls his “Sesame” app for Android Wear smartwatches an “exceedingly simple project” to unlock a door using spoken commands. The wearer simply needs to shout into the watch face, “OK Google, open sesame” to open the app. It then wirelessly transmits a command via Bluetooth to turn an Internet-connected lock.

Of course, the lock itself has to be outfitted with a fair amount of hardware. Venkatraman fastened a small rotating cuff to a deadbolt handle. The apparatus is still very much an early build with a few exposed wires running along the door. Still, Venkatraman has shared instructions on his website so hobbyists can gather up the components, copy the code and add their own refinements to an idea that’s been some 300 years in the making.

TIME Innovation

Meet the Kid Who Made an Unbelievable, Real-Life Batsuit

It withstands punches and cuts

A Philadelphia University student designed a real-life Batsuit that withstands punches, baseball bats and even blades.

The industrial design student, Jackson Gordon, created the 25-pound suit in his spare time and unveiled it earlier this month at Katsucon, an anime convention, USA Today reports. Gordon started on the first prototypes last September, and raised over $1,000 on Kickstarter in November to buy supplies.

Gordon says it’s not quite done yet. “Designing is never finished,” Gordon told USA Today. “You either run out of time or you run out of money.”

[USA Today]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 24

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. For some returning from war, a ‘G.I. bill for farming’ eases the transition home.

By Abby Wendle at Harvest Public Media

2. In Egypt, a class project to fight sexual harassment has grown into a campus-wide movement encouraging women to “Speak Up.”

By Ahmed Fouad in Al-Monitor

3. Your kid’s school is missing the tech revolution, and it’s all your fault.

By Jason Tanz in Wired

4. Community courts focus on rehabilitation and compassion for non-violent offenders.

By Henry Gass in the Christian Science Monitor

5. A new ‘Uber for packages’ service is partnering with Waffle House to build a network of delivery points around the south.

By Amar Toor in the Verge

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 23

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. The propaganda war against ISIS doesn’t tell us anything about the real fight.

By Paul Waldman in the Week

2. Programs supporting women-owned small businesses will boost the economy.

By Claudia Viek at the American Sustainable Business Council

3. System-wide disruption — including a new medical school admissions test — is remaking medical education.

By Melinda Beck in Wall Street Journal

4. Prison reform could unleash resourcefulness and hustle currently behind bars. The tech sector should get on board.

By Baratunde Thurston in Fast Company

5. The first power plant powered by ocean waves is officially online.

By Kaleigh Rogers in Motherboard from Vice

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 20

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Hollywood’s diversity problem goes beyond “Selma.” Asian and Latino stories and faces are missing.

By Jose Antonio Vargas and Janet Yang in the Los Angeles Times

2. Shifting the narrative away from religion is key to defeating ISIS.

By Dean Obeidallah in the Daily Beast

3. Innovation alone won’t fix social problems.

By Amanda Moore McBride and Eric Mlyn in the Chronicle of Higher Education

4. When the Ebola epidemic closed schools in Sierra Leone, radio stepped in to fill the void.

By Linda Poon at National Public Radio

5. The racial wealth gap we hardly talk about? Retirement.

By Jonnelle Marte in the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 19

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Are rising tensions between nuclear powers and an increased risk of rogue actors getting weapons spurring a new nuclear age?

By Rod Lyons in RealClearDefense

2. Psychological barriers — not science — are holding back progress on treating wastewater, improving crop yields and more.

By Maria Konnikova in the New Yorker

3. Massive computing power and better tools are making it harder to hide submarines. Are they becoming obsolete?

By Harry J. Kazianis in the National Interest

4. It’s too soon to celebrate a win in the Net Neutrality battle.

By Blair Levin in Re/code

5. Mumbling isn’t lazy speech. It’s data compression.

By Julie Sedivy in Nautilus

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 18

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. More than a decade ago, the international community tackled AIDS in Africa. Now we should do the same with cancer in the developing world.

By Lawrence N. Shulman in Policy Innovations

2. Finally, an app for kids to anonymously report cyber-bullying.

By Issie Lapowsky in Wired

3. Indians in the U.S. sent $13 billion home last year. A new plan aims to push some of that money into social good investments in India.

By Simone Schenkel in CSIS Prosper

4. Websites are just marketing. The next Internet is TV.

By John Herrman in The Awl

5. The U.K. may set up a digital court to settle small claims online.

By Chris Baraniuk in New Scientist

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: February 17

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Is the Taliban’s fracturing a sign of its demise or a possible turn to a more lethal strategy?

By Sundarsan Raghavan in the Washington Post

2. To fight cybercrime, President Obama needs Silicon Valley.

By Katie Benner in Bloomberg View

3. The FDA needs updated systems to review drugs — made from our own cells — that target cancer and more.

By Peter W. Huber in City Journal

4. Our high incarceration rate no longer reduces crime.

By Lauren-Brooke Eisen in USA Today

5. Better than an action movie: Catch a college lecture on your next commercial flight.

By Kim Clark in Money

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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