Tech Urchin: Be Informed About Technology

The Tech Urchin website was created in 2012. It informed its visitors with timely information about new technology.

About Us

Tech Urchin was created to inform the general population of any new technology (hardware and software) that is on the rise in the world today. Any new technology, from cameras to video games, operating systems, and phones, Tech Urchin is here to cover it all. It launched on May 28, 2012 by Matthew Kaufman (civil engineer) and Matthew Holliday (meteorologist) as a common interest and a desire to learn. Technology can be complex and complicated and Tech Urchin strives to bring that complicated information to you in a way that you can easily understand. The name was made as a comparison of the street urchin who lives off the scraps that are left behind by the higher classes. Tech Urchin is here to live off the scraps that the big name companies leave behind. As Tech Urchin scrapes up information for you, you get the scraps that keep you ahead of the game. If you have any questions or comments please email us at our respective addresses.

Matthew Kaufman: Founder/CEO

Matthew has had several years of experience with video production, audio editing, and has some basic knowledge with graphic design. Majoring in Civil Engineering, he has a higher mathematics and technical education. He hopes to use his current knowledge in these specified fields to help the Tech Urchin viewers further their understanding in these areas and keep them informed on new breakthroughs in future technology.

Chad Willis: Administrator

A love for photography, a passion for success, and an eye for detail put Chad right in the mix of making this site what it is. Chad is part of a landscape company exploding in growth, but has always had a love for design technology and perfecting what we see. His passion allows Tech Urchin to stay cutting edge in appearance and presentation.

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Luke, the Bionic Arm, Receives FDA Approval

Bionic prosthetics have become more prevalent recently and the DEKA arm, nicknamed Luke, has been officially approved by FDA standards. Funded by DARPA and headed up by Dean Kamen, after almost six years of testing, Luke was approved for public use. Advancements in prosthetic use greatly influence the lives of amputees and allow for more independent living.

Luke is claimed to be the first prosthetic arm to induce movements by electromyogram electrodes. The arm moves by detecting electrical signals from muscle contraction in the location of the attached prosthetic. Using natural body electric currents allows for greater precision and natural mobility for the amputee.

Luke was created to be a similar weight and size of a natural arm. It was programmed to function with six different grips for varying needs. A computer in the arm deciphers what type of movement the user desires and tells the arm to act accordingly. With any new tool, it takes some practice and patience to learn how to make Luke function appropriately.



“This innovative prosthesis provides a new option for people with certain kinds of arm amputations,” said Christy Foreman, director of the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation. The DEKA arm “may allow some people to perform more complex tasks than they can with current prostheses in a way that more closely resembles the natural motion of the arm.”

In testing, Luke was capable of picking up delicate objects quite easily. In the video below, you can see a man picking up eggs and placing them in a carton. The gentleness of a bionic prosthetic is the most important and most difficult process to tackle. Luke passes testing with flying colors and allows for picking up even small objects, like coins and grapes.

Luke can be configured for people of certain types of amputations. People with limb loss at the mid upper arm, mid lower arm, and shoulder joint can use it. It cannot, however, be fitted to an amputee of the elbow or lower wrist.

The DEKA arm is not publically available yet and does not have a set date. We can all hope that amputee will have this opportunity in the near future.


Woman receives 3D-printed Skull

Posted by Matthew Kaufman on 1st April 2014

You've all read the stories of people using 3D printers to make stuff for outrageous purposes - even non metalic guns and prosthetic devices. Or, like the jewelry maven she is, Mrs. Oliver's unbelieveable collection of gold statement rings, each depicting a 3D statue from the Roman Empire. Some of these rings are truly gorgeous, however cumbersome, and suggest a myriad of ideas for further explorations of jewelry items. She also used the technology to create a tooth (crown) and a rigid eyepatch, both for cosmetic purposes only. But aside from jewelry and novelty items, 3D printing really is beginning to contribute to society in very valuable and unexpected ways. 3D printing has become extremely popular and helpful in the medical arena. From dental health to prosthetics, doctors have been able to reshape damaged or missing body parts to allow people to enjoy life as normal again.

I am amazed at the number of consumer 3 D pronters that are now available. Staples and even Walmart carry them, although one wonders of the finished product on a 3D printer for under $200.00. Barely a decade ago, 3D printers were hulking, expensive machines reserved for factories and well-heeled corporations. They were all but unknown outside the small circles of professionals that built and used them. I remember the day when I was working for some local Columbia movers in Maryland and we had to move one of those monstrosities into the company's storage facility. Even though Von Paris had been named the official Mover of the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, it still took us some major effort to move the machine. Today, a top rated 3D printer, such as the Formlabs Form 2, plus all the accessories, would be far easier to move than those old oversized units. And storage would be a lot easier as well.

Recently a 22-year-old woman had the top of her skull completely replaced with a 3D printed one. The patient was suffering from a condition that causes thickening of the skull and induces severe symptoms. The thickening of the skull applies pressure to the brain and begins to shut down various body functions. This patient lost her vision and began to lose motor coordination. In time if the skull is not replaced then she would have died from the effects. Dr. Bron Verweij of UMC and his team in coordination with Anatomics produced a 3D printed skull implant to allow her to live.

Implants have been used in the past to replace skull pieces, but the cement implants do not always fit well. Using 3D printing, the skull implant could be designed and created to better specifications and more precise detail. Having the right size and shape shell can determine how well the brain functions so precision is important.

The surgery occurred around three months ago and was a complete success. Removing the existing skull and replacing with the 3D-printed skull relieved the brain from stress. Giving the brain the proper room allowed the patient to fully regain her sight and motor skills. She has returned to work and has no complaints. This success proves that 3D printing could be utilized in some of the most delicate of procedures to solve problems with greater precision.

Author description:


Matthew has had several years of experience with video production, audio editing, and has some basic knowledge with graphic design. Majoring in Civil Engineering, he has a higher mathmatics and technical education. He hopes to use his current knowledge in these specified fields to help the Tech Urchin viewers further their understanding in these areas and keep them informed on new breakthroughs in future technology.