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Biotech Science

Bionic Arm Reads Brain's Signals 31

Zarf writes "Dr. Todd A. Kuiken and the Doctors of the Rehabilitation Institue of Chicago have successfully used the nerve endings from an amputee's lost arm to drive a bionic replacement. Details are in this CNN story. Although this isn't new surgical work it is a clever and practical use of existing technologies which hasn't been done before. It offers the promise of other interesting applications as well such as hands-free wheelchair use or even hands-free mousing. The doctors hope that in time this technology will lead to other bionic replacement limbs as well."
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Bionic Arm Reads Brain's Signals

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  • Bionic limbs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Friday September 26, 2003 @05:03PM (#7067183) Journal
    Anybody remember Heinlein's character from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress? The one who worked on computers, and had a different bionic arm attachment for every job?
    • Red Dwarf (Score:3, Interesting)

      Kryten had this one beat - groinial attachments :) He even cooked with them
    • Not as cool as Niven's "The Long Arm of Gil Hamilton." Although Gil's arm was imaginary. But hey, it worked for him.
    • Yes, Mann.

      The arms were numbered and one of them functioned as a micro-manipulator---way cool.

      I've always thought it rather a shame that the artificial limb thing wasn't touched upon in Victor Milan's _The Cybernetic Samurai_ (which had a character who read _The Moon is a Harsh Mistress_ well-nigh religiously---did do interesting things w/ her wheel chair though).

  • Cool. Now I can fly a Soviet fighter jet with the "power of my mind" while leaving my hands free for Pr0 - er, eating!
  • Well, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by snubber1 ( 56537 )
    I remember watching an episode of Nova where a dude had lost the use of his legs and one arm. They implanted some electrodes in his arm that allowed him to open and close the grip on the one hand by shrugging his sholder to activate a switch.

    Later they experimented with a special hat that read brain waves and allowed him to learn to control a box on the screen up and down. Once he had mastered the binary up/down control by pure thought, they connected it to his arm and just by thinking he could open an
  • finally i'll be able to get that bigfoot thing out of my vegetable garden!
  • Cool! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Alethes ( 533985 ) on Friday September 26, 2003 @05:29PM (#7067412)
    Looks like Viagra could get some real competition with a brainwave controlled "limb".
  • by Jouni ( 178730 ) on Friday September 26, 2003 @07:10PM (#7068371)
    Going by the story; the doctors grafted the nerves for the amputated arm on to a minor muscle on the chest, and used sensors on top of the muscle to drive the bionic arm. Attaching directly to actual nerve-endings still bears a few too many challenges to be practical, but this is nevertheless an impressive step.

    Now, this technology could also be used to drive biomechanic armored exoskeletons... :-)


  • If a bionic, enhanced limb is availible, what happens when someone goes to jail? You can't just lop off the mans arm, can you?
    • Take out the battery?
    • In this particular case, it's not a problem; you just remove his prosthetic arms. His prosthetics are not actually attached to his body in any permanent way that would require surgery to remove. It's just strapped on like any other prosthetic.
      • Um, that IS a problem. It's going to stay a problem. While the thing is attached his nerves are gradually adjusting to its parameters, doing biofeedback. He'll get more and more coordinated with time until it is, eventually, part of him, even though it doesn't have feedback via nerves. By the time he can reach out for something naturally, without thinking about it, taking the limb away would be an invasion of the man's body and brain, true corporal punishment. I doubt it would be constitutional.
  • "Now, when Sullivan thinks about closing his hand, the nerve that used to make the hand close spurs a little piece of his chest muscle to contract."

    In other news:
    Circumventing hundreds of thousands of years of male instinct, scientists have finally achieved what evolution could not - the merging of the delightful thought of squeezing a breast into the simple act of closing your hand.
  • When can I become a usb input device? I want to be serial, and hot pluggable!
  • I don't want a bionic replacement, I want a bionic addition
  • How long until the first bionic penis? This would really make for some weird sci-fi porn.
  • This is great, now I can live out my childhood dreams. I don't know if any of you have played the game Bionic Commando [] for the original Nintendo, now also on GameBoy. As a child I used to look up to my Bionic hero and now I can become him and live in a world where I will foil plots of wordly super villains.
  • We get far enough into this tecnology we can reach teh point where a computer will need no peripials and we'll just plug you into it. That would be cool and a bit creepy.
  • ... make that dshuhdshuhdshuh-sound when he lifts the trucks with it?
  • (Crushes cup with newly-made cybernetic hand)
  • Dr. Todd A. Kuiken and the Doctors of the Rehabilitation Institue of Chicago have successfully used the nerve endings from an amputee's lost arm to drive a bionic replacement.

    The patient, who for privacy reasons only provided his first name of Anakin...

    - David Stein
  • How long until I can get a fully functional chrome arm with screwdrivers in the thumb and a lighter in the pinky?
  • Two years ago, a healthy Jesse Sullivan, 56, was at his job repairing utility lines when he accidentally touched a live wire, costing him both his arms up to his shoulders.

    It's great that Mr. Sullivan survived his accident and could benefit from bionics. Electricity can be very beneficial but also very dangerous [] (warning: extremely graphic images). Technology is great, but it always has a dark side -- so be careful out there folks!

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling