Give Me a Hand
☼ A quadriplegic woman, paralyzed from the neck down from a neurodegenerative disorder, was able to feed herself chocolate and give high-fives thanks to the most sophisticated prosthetic arm yet, with 7 degrees of freedom. Within the second day of training, she was able to perform basic tasks, with a 92% success rate of controlling the robotic arm. This study is the first to demonstrate feasibility of human brain implants to control an external device .
☼ Brain-Machine Interfaces convert brain signals into movement. The researchers first mapped the signals generated in the patient’s brain when she thought of moving her arm and programmed the response of the prosthetic arm accordingly. Two small computer 4mm chips were implanted into the patient’s left motor cortex. The chips were 96 channel microchips designed to detect and record small electrical potentials that motor cortex brain cells produce when executing a movement. “The result is a prosthetic hand, which can be moved far more accurately and naturalistically than previous efforts.”
☼ Future Scenarios include tactile feedback using sensors to feed into the patient’s sensory cortex, wireless communication, and possibly activation of the patient’s own muscles with implants.