Pennsylvania – Scientists based at the University of Pittsburgh have announced that they have created the most advanced robotic brain-controlled prosthetic limb ever.
The creation which features a robot-hand powered by the mind is believed to help individuals with long-term paralysis by allowing them to perform activities which they require their hands for with great precision and ease.
The robot-hand collects signals from the brain associated with movement which are then transcribed into a computer code before commanding the prosthetic hand to move. The artificial limb is believed to move far more accurately and naturally than previous inventions.
“One of the biggest challenges has always been how to translate brain signals that indicate limb movement into computer signals that can reliably and accurately control a robotic prosthesis,” said Andrew Schwartz, a professor of neurology at the university.
The robot-hand was tested on a 52-year-old woman who had been paralysed from her neck down which prevented her from moving her arms and legs.
The woman had successfully moved the prosthetic through mind power by the second day of her 14-week training programme. The training was aimed to test skills such as holding, moving and stacking small objects.
By the end of the programme, the woman completed all tasks with a success rate of up to 91.6%, and more than 30 seconds faster than at the start of the training.
Scientists are further set to work on incorporating systems which will give a patient more sensory details about surfaces such as whether something is hot, cold, rough or smooth. Plans to use Wi-Fi rather than a wire to connect the skull and prosthetic limb are also to be made.