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Medicine Science

Human Tests of Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm To Begin 119

Posted by kdawson
from the do-what-i-mean dept.
kkleiner writes "The world's first human testing of a mind-controlled artificial limb is ready to begin. A joint project between the Pentagon and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the Modular Prosthetic Limb will be fully controlled by sensors implanted in the brain, and will even restore the sense of touch by sending electrical impulses from the limb back to the sensory cortex. Last week APL announced it had been awarded a $34.5M contract with DARPA, which will allow researchers to test the neural prosthetic in five individuals over the next two years."
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Human Tests of Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm To Begin

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  • by scdeimos (632778) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @11:16PM (#33133812)
    Actually it's the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) - the Luke arm comes from a competitor Deka, which is owned and run by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.
  • Re:AWESOME! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Kenoli (934612) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:04AM (#33134042)
    The technology in ghost in the shell is quite a bit more advanced.
    Full body prosthesis > arms that turn into guns.
  • by stripathy (1870498) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @12:08AM (#33134056)
    Worst case scenario the neurons in that particular region would die. If the current stimulus was even higher then that local region of the brain would die and the person would no longer be able to sense his arm, or finger; but those sensations would likely regenerate because the brain is very adaptable.
  • by tehcyder (746570) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @06:41AM (#33135746) Journal

    People are not by nature moral. What most people call "morals" is really just a bunch of self serving excuses for doing bad things. The only influences, secularly speaking, that will keep this technology from being used in the most hideous ways are laziness, lack of sufficient resources, and greedy bickering between scientists, corporations, and bureaucrats.

    Yes, because we all know that it is only religious belief that enables ethical behaviour, and that all religious believers are truly moral people.
    You are a fucking cunt on a tricycle.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @08:43AM (#33136428) Journal

    the Luke arm comes from a competitor Deka, which is owned and run by Segway inventor Dean Kamen

    Not competitor, exactly. When DARPA started the Revolutionizing Prosthetics project some five years ago, they created two independent development paths. DEKA was tasked with making the most advanced prosthetic arm available with current technology, while APL was tasked (primarily) with developing a neural interface for a prosthetic. APL also developed an arm, which they'll be using in their trails, but you don't hear as much about that. The division was primarily between applied engineering, leading to an actual product, and research translation that is a longer-term effort.

  • by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday August 04, 2010 @10:14AM (#33137396) Homepage

    your proposition does not only make sense, but is even used in other experiments or products. Earlier prosthetic arms read signals from nerves and remaining fragments of muscles (mentionned in TFA). Also the HAL exoskeletton predicts which motion to assist by reading nerves and muscle.

    BUT all this requires functionning nerves.
    according to TFA, this artificial arm is intended for quadrplegic patients (with whom no useful brain impulse controls anything below the neck, except the main respiratory muscle)
    for the intended patient, brain-computer-interfaces are the only way to go.

    Also, a nerve requires a connexion to a muscle to function properly. You can't just put an electrode on it to read the signal. If the limb is missing, the nerve is un connected and dies of or degrades. That's why another artificial limb is mentionned to require renervation of muscles.
    The golden target for non-quadraplegic patients would probably be to design which, to the body, exactly look like what the nerves grow onto, so the body will naturally make synapses to link the artificial limb.

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