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 now we’re seeing a movement in alternative prosthetics, a form of assistive technology that rejects conventions without trying to fit into them. Instead of creating devices that mimic the appearance of a “normal” arm or leg, a new wave of designers are creating fantastic prosthetics that can curl like tentacles, light up, or even glow. Read the story in its entirety.

– Joanna Thompson

Joanna’s story is from the latest print issue of the MIT Technology Review, which focuses on design. Subscribe to read the full version when it comes out later this month.

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

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

There’s no denying that outbreaks of the virus have had a big impact on birds in recent months, and that the current outbreak is far worse than what we’ve seen in the past. But while we’ve seen a small number of cases in humans, there’s no evidence that it’s a greater threat to humans now than it was in the past. Read the story in its entirety.

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