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Medicine Science Technology

New Interface Could Wire Prosthetics Directly Into Amputees' Nervous Systems 160

cylonlover writes "Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories have announced a breakthrough in prosthetics that may one day allow artificial limbs to be controlled by their wearers as naturally as organic ones, as well as providing sensations of touch and feeling. The scientists have developed a new interface consisting of a porous, flexible, conductive, biocompatible material through which nerve fibers can grow and act as a sort of junction through which nerve impulses can pass to the prosthesis and data from the prosthesis back to the nerve. If this new interface is successful, it has the potential to one day allow nerves to be connected directly to artificial limbs."
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New Interface Could Wire Prosthetics Directly Into Amputees' Nervous Systems

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  • Holy Crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bovius ( 1243040 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @01:30PM (#39250035)

    I know this is still a research project and they don't know how well it's actually going to work in practice, but the fact that we're approaching a machine-nerve interface at all is incredible. If they are successful, they will end up with a permanent, prominent place in our history books.

    Good work, people.

  • by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @02:03PM (#39250561) Homepage
    1) Organic fails WELL. By that I mean, it causes pain and minor damage before you do something stupid that destroys the entire organic object. Electronics fail badly. Little if any warning, and it operates on the performance edge, so sudden failure is usually catastrophic.

    2)Organics do minor self repair, for free (if time+ food = free). They are built to accept the minor damage it gives (see option 1) above.

    3) Organic maintenance is limited and automatic inbuilt. We call it SLEEP. Electronic maintenance involves constant attention to detail - oils, software patches, etc.

    4) Organics are evolved/designed to run far inside maximum tolerances. In extreme circumstances, they have hidden reserves that suddenly become accessible.

    5) Organics are self-replicating. No need for a factory.

  • by JustNilt ( 984644 ) on Monday March 05, 2012 @02:30PM (#39251021) Homepage

    If this new interface is successful

    As with so many articles I see about "breakthroughs", this is the key bit. The researchers probably just needed another round of funding so they released some information about it. Call me when we actually have serious trials and it's about to start final testing.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.