The man in this video, Jesse Sullivan is using one of the most high-tech prosthetic arms available which he’s controlling with his thoughts. After an amputation, the nerves in a stump remain healthy, at least for a while, and now scientists are making use of this fact to create highly dexterous, thought-controlled prosthetics. Video was published by newscientist.com.
Todd Kuiken, a biomechanical engineer at Northwestern University, and his team are looking at how different patterns of brain activity can be used to control prosthetic limbs.
In the video above, the nerves from Sullivan’s stump were connected to muscles in his chest. When he thinks about moving his chest muscles, the signals are picked up by the nerves in the arm and interpreted by a computer which relays the information to the prosthesis.
The team has fine-tuned the system that interprets these brain signals, giving the patients control over a wider range of movements than was ever possible before.
Sullivan was the first to undergo the surgery about eight years ago and he still comes in to carry out tests. Whereas most amputees seem to lose control of these nerves over time, because they are no longer being used to control muscles, in patients like Sullivan, the signals appear to become stronger.
Next, Kuiken’s team wants to make the technology accessible to a greater number of patients. They plan to develop the system so it can be applied to less high-tech prosthetics currently on the market. Bunderson is looking to better understand how the brain adapts to prosthetics.
Read the full story at http://www.newscientist.com
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