Mind controlled mechanical Proprio Foot. Copenhagen company, Ossur, has created an implantable sensor that allows users to control prosthetic limbs with mind control alone. They are using Implanted MyoElectric Sensor (IMES) technology for their Proprio Foot. (via Ossur)
New on the scene is an implantable sensor that allows users to fully operate mechanical limbs using just their mind. While ‘mind-controlled’ prosthetics have been in the making for a while now, they have usually required the users to contract their muscles in order for a slew of other sensors to pick up the signal and move the limb.
Hence, not only have some prosthetics been cumbersome but they usually have a lag between when the user thinks about moving their limb until it actually starts to happen. A Copenhagen company called Ossur is trying to change all of that with their Implanted MyoElectric Sensor (IMES) technology that allows users to control a mechanical foot without the lag – using only a sensor.
The sensor is able to pick up the on electric signals sent from the brain to the users leg, which signals the foot to move. So essentially, the implanted sensor is cutting out the middle man and acting in the same way the nervous system reacts to brain signals in order to move prosthetic limbs. Currently, they have their sensor working with their own foot prosthesis called the Proprio Foot. You can see a close up of the device below.
Gudmundur Olafsson is among their first test subjects and he noted how the implant allowed him to move his ankle right away. He has been using the prosthetic for 14 months within the trial. It only takes 15 minutes to surgically implant the sensor which makes this prosthetic even easier to use. The Proprio Foot is powered by magnetic coils which mean the user never has to change batteries or get a replacement. Ossur plans to enter a larger clincal trial soon in the hopes of getting this prosthetic on the market in the next 3 to 5 years.
Mind-control operated robotic arm (via Spencer Kellis/Caltech via AP)
Also, recent innovations within Caltech demonstrate that robotic, mind-controlled arm prosthetics may become a reality soon as well. Researchers are finding more ways to fine-tune robotic arm movements that allows users to shake hands, open a can of beer, and play rock-paper-scissors.
This is hopeful news, and I hope that other prosthetic limbs start thinking about borrowing Ossur’s IMES to speed up their processes.
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