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A man from Colorado had lost both of his arms after an accident was given two thought controlled robotic arms developed by Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is the first bilateral shoulder level amputee to have used and control the laboratory’s Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPL) simultaneously.

According to John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory’s official site, forty years ago, Les Baugh lost both of his arms in an electrical accident and now he can control both of his robotic arms with just a short time of training and do simple task just by provoking them with thoughts.

The Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program, the said prosthetics had been developed for more than a decade.APL aims to further assess the usability of the MPL. Even before the the MPL were attached, Les Baugh had to go through a surgery known as targeted muscle reinnervation in John Hopkins.

Meet the First Bilateral Shoulder Level Amputee uses Thought Controlled Robotic Arms
Trauma Surgeon Albert Chi of John Hopkins explained that the procedure reassigns nerves that once controlled the arm and the hand. This makes the thoughts of a person with upper-arm amputations become a control over the prosthetic devices.

After the surgical procedure, Baugh had went through pattern recognition system with the help of the researchers. Pattern recognition algorithms are used to identify individual muscles their amplitude, frequency, communication with each other and contraction. These information are taken and translated into actual movements within a prosthetic.

The MPL was also fitted to Baugh’s torso and shoulders. Neurological connections with the reinnervated nerves were created. One of the first tasks he was able to do was to move an empty cup from a lower shelf to a higher shelf completed with eight separate motions.

The next step for Baugh is to be sent home with his new prosthetics and use them in his everyday living just as he used to. It might take time but the team is excited about it.


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