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You’ve been reading about robotic arms used for prosthetics for quite a while, but we have quite a winner here. Ortiz Catalan, a researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, has developed the world’s first implantable robotic arm that can be controlled by thoughts.
Till now, the arm’s movements didn’t feel natural & uncomfortable because they were pre-programmed. But with Catalan’s a new bidirectional interface with the human body, what we get is a natural and intuitive control system.
With the current systems, electrodes have to be placed over skin to pick electric signal for prosthesis control. These signals get affected by skin movements and sweat. To eliminate that, they got close to the nerves & muscles and placed it there. Moreover, the current amputees use only audio-visual senses for feedback.
A good example that the University has shared is that – you have to look at or hear the motors in the prosthesis in order to estimate the grip force applied to a cup if you want to move it around. Due to the new technology from Chalmers, now patients can receive feedback as the electrodes stimulate the neural pathways to the patient’s brain.
There very first operation will take place soon this winter. After testing it further, they will bring their research work outside the labs to patients at large and become the first ones to have “thought-controlled prostheses” help patients in their daily activities. We surely await the day.
Official FE News Editor