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Wheelchair Controlled By Brain Signals And Prosthetics That ‘Feel’

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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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