Innovation in Prosthetic Arms: Nerve Controlled Movement and Feeling


Imagine just thinking about moving something and it actually moving. Sounds like something that only could be dreamed up in a science-fiction movie. Telekinesis isn’t a reality…but, bionic prosthetic arms that can work from nerve sensations are. I

Imagine you can’t move or feel with your hand for ten years and then one day suddenly being able to.

robot hand thumbs up

Advances in Technology for Prosthetic Limbs

Not only can robotic prosthetic’s advances in technology now allow for thought-provoked movement but for actual sensations to be felt. This technology allows for actual feelings of touch. This innovation is hottest thing in the therapy industry and an absolutely life altering enhancement for the lives of amputees. Previously, even the most advanced prosthetic limbs would leave a level of uncertainty; being unable to feel made it difficult to know how hard to grip an object.

Dennis Sorensen, a man who had lost his left hand a decade ago during to a firework mishap, was the first man to try the revolutionary-type of fake hand. Surgeons added tiny electrodes that attached from his arm to the prosthetic. He says that he felt immediate sensations. For the first time in years his brain was able to feel with his robotic hand  He spent much of last year  building his skill and a series of studies that proved that Sorensen was not lying about about what he felt. For example, he did blindfolded tests while having ear plugs in and given assortments of objects to touch with the artificial arm and he was to figure out what they were. Sorensen was able to distinguish an orange from a baseball; a long bottle and a short one without help from any other senses.

LifeHand 2

As early as 2008 even, six institutions in Switzerland, Germany and Spain started research in a project called LifeHand 2 where they studied and developed this new artificial but sensational device. However, despite the extensive advances in the science of this prosthetic that connects to brain nerves, some are not sure that all amputees will be willing to wear it. It would require time-consuming surgery to install the wires in the arm and the device itself is still too bulky to be used practically every day. The Swiss studies on rats had the wire implants lasting nine to twelve months; however, scientists are confident in their abilities to enhance to longevity for people to use.

In the U.S., a man named Todd Kuiken, an engineer and doctor at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, is building these new synthetic limbs that function based on the brain’s impulses. Although not the goal intended by the invention, Kuiken began noticing that not only were the limbs able to move with ease from thoughts; but in some cases the amputees could feel with it. The innovative prosthetic works on a system known as targeted muscle reinnervation. In this process, the remainder of the missing limb connects to a computer that tells the limb to move. This 20 years-in-the-making technology for hands will be developing components for shoulders, elbows, and wrists as well.

Considering the fact that about 130,000 individuals struggle with limb amputations and the many physical, social, and mental complications each year in the U.S.; this advancement will be a huge step in their lives. The future of physical therapy will surely include the blissful moment of training their patients to use their restored feeling and movement.

 

 

Author: Allied Travel Careers

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