By Dan Nosowitz
Posting in Government
A Darpa-sponsored team is working on a mind-controlled prosthetic arm that works by physically implanting a chip in the brain.
A team from Johns Hopkins, funded by a $34.5 million contract from Darpa, is getting ready to test its Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) on a human for the first time. The prosthetic requires a micro-array physically implanted into the patient's brain which records signals and pushes them out to the limb to be executed.
The MPL offers 22 degrees of motion, including each finger, allows for a sort of feedback mechanism reminiscent of the sense of touch, and weighs only about nine pounds--about the same as an organic human arm.
Johns Hopkins, with the help of a group of other Darpa-funded teams from Caltech and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Utah, and Chicago, hopes to test the MPL on five patients within the next two years. They're hoping the research and feedback will allow them to implement ever more realistic features, including pressure and touch.
Wired notes that these projects are exceedingly difficult--Darpa recently created another team to address a two-year lifespan of the implanted part of a similar device. But it's a tremendously worthwhile and exciting project.
Jul 16, 2010
Combine that prostheses with the ITAPs (Intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics) as reported recently by AP (http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/2136/Article_2010-06-25-EU-Britain-Bionic-Cat/id-e6a7b097515345908320c34613a1b164), and we're looking at the possibility of a truely "bionic" human. I think we'll have fully functional non-organic replacements before we have regeneration.
Being an lower limb amp this is fantastic. The next thing will be a leg with mind control. the whole industry is on warp drive ,wish I wasn't so old
Being a lower limb amputee I hope this hits a home run. The next limb will be a leg with a mind control knee, this would be cool .