Posting in Government
Prosthetics that can feel pressure and temperature.
Currently, amputees have prosthetic devices that depend on cables that connect their artificial limb to other parts of their body. So, for instance, they might have to squeeze a muscle in the chest to move their artificial hand. This makes it hard to pick up a cup of coffee because of this indirect motion.
Southern Methodist University's technology would get around that, by providing a more seamless two-way communication pathway.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding the Neurophotonics Research Center with $5.6 million to create an optical link that would allow the brain to communicate directly with artificial limbs.
The scientists reported:
The researchers believe their new technologies can ultimately provide the solution to the kind of injury that left actor Christopher Reeve paralyzed after a horse riding accident. "This technology has the potential to patch the spinal cord above and below a spinal injury," said SMU engineer Marc Christensen. "Someday, we will get there."
And the optical connection could help patients with prosthetic limbs feel sensations and move things more naturally. The artificial limbs could sense pressure and detect if something is hot.
To complete this connection, living tissue would be wired to a computer system that would be hooked up to the human nervous system through sensors built into the fiber.
"Enhancing human performance with modern digital technologies is one of the great frontiers in engineering," Christensen said in a statement. "Providing this kind of port to the nervous system will enable not only realistic prosthetic limbs, but also can be applied to treat spinal cord injuries and an array of neurological disorders."
When we feel that a pot is hot, a single nerve can tell our brains that it is so. The key here is to develop this technology so it can respond on the individual, cell level.
That way, injured soldiers and other amputees can have super fast connections from their brains to their artificial limbs. Here's to enhancing human performance.
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Sep 24, 2010
That's good ... at least they are making some progress. This is just like Fullmetal Alchemist (an Anime) ... Edward's Auto-mail Hand ... Wow!
With the improvised explosive devices, the military have to face, on a daily basis. this type of technology, is really necessary. And funding for this type of research, should be readily available.
The author never mentions helping Christopher Reeves walk again, only that the technology may one day provide a solution to the "kind" of injury that left him crippled. It suggests that it has the potential to help others; you critics should consider concentrating on your reading retention. here's a big "DUH" for you guys.
First of all, Christopher Reeve died in 2004, so he's no longer a candidate, though perhaps you meant "could have helped" ? Secondly, If you Google "myoelectric prosthetics", you will turn up 20,000 hits - it is common technology, that is still too expensive to be available to the general public, and unfortunately all the work that is being done in this area gets little attention while DARPA tends to get all the media attention. A couple links for you. http://www.myoelectricprosthesis.com/ http://www.oandp.com/articles/2007-12_01.asp Please be aware that there are researchers and prosthetists working all over the world on these projects and they too need support in their research.
Is the author grammatically-challenged, or seriously out-of-touch? It will take much more than this technology could possibly offer, to "... help Christopher Reeve walk again."