Tag Archives | bionics

Wheelchair Controlled By Brain Signals And Prosthetics That ‘Feel’


Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Greg Mitchell

Unveiled at the science conference in Washington, bionics introduced thought-controlled wheelchairs could create new opportunities for paralyzed patients. BBC News reports:

Thought-controlled wheelchairs and nerve-controlled prosthetic arms are some of the latest innovations in bionics being discussed at a science conference in Washington.

The wheelchair can be directed by brain signals detected using a cap fitted to the user and is the work of scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland (EPFL).

It is part of efforts to control machines directly via brain signals, which could lead to new devices for the paralysed and disabled.

The main focus of bionics to date has been on providing prosthetics for amputees. Prosthetic arms can now be controlled by nerve signals in the remaining arm, which can be picked up by electric sensors on the skin.

Those with arms amputated above the elbow, where important nerves have been severed, can also potentially control such devices, thanks to what is called “Targeted Muscle Reinnervation” surgery (TMR).

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World’s First Bionic Cat (Video)

One of our cats recently fell from our 4th floor NYC apartment and sad to say, the ASPCA told us it should not be saved, even though the local animal hospital wanted $14,000 to try. But they didn't say they could give it bionic limbs ... maybe if we lived in the UK, per this story from ABC News:
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Are We Closer To Robotic Superpowers?

The disabled are already combining cutting-edge technology with robotics and bionics, according to this article. The video at the end of the article shows a TED presentation by Aimee Mullins, who argues “It is no longer a conversation about overcoming deficiencies. It’s a conversation about augmentation…about potential,” adding artificial limbs “can stand as a symbol that the wearer has the power to create whatever it is that they want to create in that space.”

There’s also a video of a new robotic hand wired to existing nerve endings that can literally feel using 40 sensors linked directly to the brain. (“Perfectly good nerve endings remain at the stem of a severed limb… Our team is building the interface between the device and the nerves in the arm, connecting cognitive neuroscience with state-of-the-art information technologies.”) Plus a very moving story about the prosthetic “Luke” arm designed by Segway inventor Dean Kamen.… Read the rest

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