This Week in Devices [ 9/13/13 ]: Ig Nobel Awards Honor the Silliest of Science

Every week MD+DI curates content from all over the Web to share some of the most interesting articles, longreads, and videos with the medical device community.

This Week: Robots that devour brain tumors. The tragedy of a pacemaker that outlasts a patient. The Ig Noble Prize celebrates the most bizarre scientific achievements.

 
Brain Tumor-eating Robots
 
University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers have developed a prototype robotic maggot designed to eat away at brain tumors. [Popular Science
 
The bendy maggot-bot can zap tumors with an electrocautery tool, then suction out the dead tissue. It can be controlled remotely, making it possible for the surgeon to monitor the tumor and direct the robot to certain tissue while the patient is undergoing an MRI.
 
 
When a Pacemaker Lasts Too Long
 
From 2010. A writer shares her experience with her father's pacemaker, a device so well made that it even outlived her father's brain. [NYTimes
 
Upstairs, my 85-year-old father, Jeffrey, a retired Wesleyan University professor who suffered from dementia, lay napping in what was once their shared bedroom. Sewn into a hump of skin and muscle below his right clavicle was the pacemaker that helped his heart outlive his brain. The size of a pocket watch, it had kept his heart beating rhythmically for nearly five years. Its battery was expected to last five more.
 
The Ig Nobel Awards Honor the Silliest in Science
 
Inside perhaps the year's wildest even in science – the “23rd First Annual” Ig Nobel Awards. The ceremony honors the year's most amusing (and though provoking) achievements. This year's medicine prize went to a team of researchers (who showed up dressed like rodents) who examined the effects of opera music on mice who have undergone heart transplants. [io9]
 
This year's ceremony was one of the best in years. As usual, there were actual Nobel laureates in attendance, handing out awards; a scientific theme that mandated the audience hoot and holler whenever it was mentioned (this year's theme/word: "force"); and an opera in four parts. 
 
-Chris Wiltz, Associate Editor, MD+DI

Christopher.Wiltz@ubm.com