Developing Technologies to Improve the Treatment of Craniosynostosis in Children

Engineers and surgeons are working together to improve the treatment of babies born with craniosynostosis, a condition that causes the bone plates in the skull to fuse too soon. Treating this condition typically requires surgery after birth to remove portions of the fused skull bones, and in some cases the bones grow together again too quickly — requiring additional surgeries.

Researchers in the Atlanta-based Center for Pediatric Healthcare Technology Innovation are developing imaging techniques designed to predict whether a child’s skull bones are likely to grow back together too quickly after surgery. They are also developing technologies that may delay a repeat of the premature fusion process. Continue reading

Robots Are Coming to the ER

A group of computer engineers at Vanderbilt University is convinced that the basic technology is now available to create robot assistants that can perform effectively in the often-chaotic environment of the emergency room. The specialists in emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are enthusiastic about the potential advantages. So, the two groups have formed an interdisciplinary team to explore the use of robotics in this critical and challenging setting.

Team member Mitch Wilkes, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, presented an overview of the group’s thinking on Monday, Dec. 6, in a paper titled, “Heterogeneous Artificial Agents for Triage Nurse Assistance,” at the Humanoids 2010 conference held in Nashville.

The paper proposes a system of cognitive robots  Continue reading

Kids Do Homework If They Plan Any College

 Children are more likely to do homework if they see themselves as engineers or teachers than if they see themselves working in sports, a U.S. researcher says.

 Daphna Oyserman of the University of Michigan says nine out of 10 students see themselves as attending at least a two-year college. However, only those students who connect future job earnings to education are likely to work hard on homework.

 Oyserman, graduate student Mesmin Destin and colleagues conducted a study that found Detroit middle-school children presented information connecting adult earnings to education were eight times more likely to do an extra credit assignment than those given a presentation about actors, musicians and sports figures.

 “Even among children with the same starting grades, expecting to be a teacher, an engineer, or a nurse when you grow up predicts that they’ll invest more time in homework,” Oyserman says in a statement. “And, not surprisingly, they will have better grades over time than children who expect to have a job in sports, entertainment, or other areas that don’t depend on having an education.”

 In one experiment 266 students were asked about jobs they see themselves having as adults. In another, 295 students were either shown jobs linked to education or jobs independent of education.