Prosthetics have helped amputees gain useful function when body parts have been lost due to injury, but those prosthetics are normally clumsy, invasive and don’t intuitively blend with normal body function like the the body part that was lost. But a group of researchers at University of Minnesota Twin Cities are working eagerly to change this. They are attempting to make clumsy prosthetics old technology.
These new prosthetic devices being created are touted to be less invasive, more accurate, and will allow amputees to move the prosthetic arm by using brain signals.
The researchers released their findings in a paper in the Journal of Neural Engineering. The researchers explained that there is nothing like this technology being developed. Jules Anh Tuan Nguyen, who is a postdoctoral researcher added “with other commercial prosthetic systems, when amputees want to move a finger, they do’t actually think about moving a finger.” This new tech, Nguyen stated, is “a lot more intuitive than any commercial system out there.
This new tech is a tiny implantable device that attaches to the peripheral nerve inside a person’s arm. A person wearing the robotic arm can move the prosthetics with brain signals that are read by the chip and an artificial intelligence computer.
This technology is very different from normal commercial prosthetics in that it is not trying to activate the muscles in the arm, it is only trying to activate the nerves in the arm.
Nguyen explains difference between other commercial prosthetics and this new tech. "They're trying to activate the muscles in their arm, since that's what the system reads. Our technology knows the patient's intention," Nguyen also provided. "If they want to move a finger, all they have to do is think about moving that finger." It’s like we are learning how to merge the technology we created around us to become a part of us.
A video of the arm at work was released by University of Minnesota. https://youtu.be/ci0DLZjHJCg
This video shows Cameron Slavens (a research participant) completing various tasks with the arm all by just thinking about it.
This tech incorporates artificial intelligence into the prosthetics and according to Zhi Yang, is a major part of why this device works so well.
Yang explained that “artificial intelligence has the tremendous capability to help explain a lot of relationships," Yang further provided that "this technology allows us to record human data, nerve data, accurately. With that kind of nerve data, the AI system can fill in the gaps and determine what's going on. That's a really big thing, to be able to combine this new chip technology with AI. It can help answer a lot of questions we couldn't answer before."
This new prosthetics technology is essentially reading the minds of the user.
This new technology has the possibility of helping more than just amputees. It will be able to assist patients with neurological issues and chronic pain. Additionally, it could potentially be used to control things like your car, phone, television,, etc all while only using your mind.
Now the researchers have to figure out how to remove the wires. Currently the new technology chip only works through wires that come through the skin. Once the chip can connect remotely, we all might be wearing some kind of chip that gives us a telepathic-type brain control of objects around us, maybe even people around us.
Yang elaborated more about this technology by saying "some of these things are actually happening. A lot of research is moving from what's in the so-called 'fantasy' category into the scientific category,"
Yang concluded, "this technology was designed for amputees for sure, but if you talk about its true potential, this could be applicable to all of us."
Fantasy is only that which you haven’t thought about yet. Nothing in life is truly fantasy once it becomes a thought in your mind. The fact that you thought of it makes it possible. You might not be the one to invent it or create it or usher it into the world, but your thinking about it moves it from the realm of fantasy to possibility.
WHAT IF WITH ALL THIS TECHNOLOGY ADVANCEMENTS US HUMANS ARE MAKING, WE ONLY THINK WE ARE LEARNING BUT IN FACT WE ARE REALLY JUST REMEMBERING.
ABOUT THE BLOGGER
La Shon Y. Fleming Bruce a/k/a SHONSPEAKS is a blogger, futurists, certified brain health specialist, speaker, and lead creator of freeyourthinkingmind.com. I am also a lawyer and managing member of The Fleming-Bruce Law Firm, P.L.L.C. If you want to check out more of my writings that may not be released on this site, go over to my website at freeyourthinkingmind.com
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