University of Minnesota Twin Cities researchers have developed a more accurate, less invasive technology that allows amputees to move a robotic arm using their brain signals instead of their muscles.
Many current commercial prosthetic limbs use a cable and harness system that is controlled by the shoulders or chest, and more advanced limbs use sensors to pick up on subtle muscle movements in a patient’s existing limb above the device. But, both options can be cumbersome, unintuitive, and take months of practice for amputees to learn how to move them.
Researchers in the University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, with the help of industry collaborators, have created a small, implantable device that attaches to the peripheral nerve in a person’s arm. When combined with an artificial intelligence computer and a robotic arm, the device can read and interpret brain signals, allowing upper limb amputees to control the arm using only their thoughts.
Next: Introducing Topaz