Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

New Success For Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the less-impressive-than-vice-versa dept.

Medicine 81

An anonymous reader writes "A number of amputees are now using a prosthetic arm that moves intuitively, when they think about moving their missing limb. Todd Kuiken and colleagues at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago surgically rearrange the nerves that normally connect to the lost limb and embed them in muscles in the chest. The muscles are then connected to sensors that translate muscle movements into movement in a robotic arm. The researchers first reported the technique in a single patient in 2007, and have now tested it in several more. The patients could all successfully move the arm in space, mimic hand motions, and pick up a variety of objects, including a water glass, a delicate cracker, and a checker rolling across a table. (Three patients are shown using the arm in the related video.) The findings are reported today in Journal of the American Medical Association."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819079)


Teen male amputees will tell their peers "Try using the left side of your brain, it feels like somebody else!"

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819363)

/. male amputees will tell their peers "Try using the left
side of your brain, it feels like somebody else!"

Fixed.

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (0, Offtopic)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819601)

On that subject, I wanna bang both those one-armed chicks in the video.

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (1)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820477)

I don't know. If it has the force to pickup a hammer, I wouldn't trust that thing near my goolies.

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825371)

I may be in a minority round here, but I have two natural arms and they can both pick up a hammer. I think you need to get a bit more exercise.

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (1)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26879651)

I like to think I have control of my arms. From the video, the control seems iffy at best.
(Although, I'll second the +1 funny :-).)

Re:A Brain-Controlled Prosthetic Arm? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826657)

Dude I was LMAO, but not everyone caught on,
I just hope you get someone with points to mod you funny!!!

Not exactly news... (4, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819171)

I've been following Dr. Kuiken's technique for quite a while. Here's a video [google.com] of a speech he gave a year ago with his first successful candidate Jesse Sullivan. [wikipedia.org]

Interesting stuff none the less.

Dupe (0)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819279)

There's even a Slashdot article [slashdot.org] from a year ago on this topic.

Re:Dupe (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819559)

If you RTFS, you'll see that that article you link to was the pilot project with one person, and that this is a slightly larger project with several (TFA doesn't say how many) people.

I'm actually a little surprised that this work wasn't done years ago; especially given what we know about synaptic plasticity.

If there's a neurobiologist reading this, could you use this technique to wire one side of a person's body to the other, enabling a person who has had a stroke to regain movement? (I think wires would bypass damaged nerves, and could fire motorneurons in the paralyzed side directly, as these are still functional even after a stroke. Or am I way off base?)

Re:Dupe (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819581)

Strokes are caused by brain damage from oxygen deprivation, not by nerve damage. If the portion of your brain that's supposed to control your left hand is fried, the sort of thing they were doing in this experiment won't help you.

Re:Dupe (1)

thepotoo (829391) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819785)

This procedure moves nerves from the arms into the chest. The areas of the brain that control (one side of) the chest are still functional in a stroke, at least enough to get some rudimentary movement. Based on what I know of synaptic plasticity, I think the brain might be able to rewire "chest" motor cortex neurons to be "arm" neurons, eventually restoring decent range of motion.

My question is whether they can bypass the damaged brain ares by moving nerves (it seems to me that TFA suggests yes).

Re:Dupe (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820039)

My question is whether they can bypass the damaged brain ares by moving nerves (it seems to me that TFA suggests yes).

What Dr. Kuiken's technique does is analogous to disconnecting a parallel cable from a broken printer and connecting it to a new one. Doing this won't help if the computer is broken.

To do what you are suggesting requires taking the case of the computer (brain surgery), to do some rewiring.

Re:Dupe (3, Informative)

Cillian (1003268) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820521)

I think what he's saying is, the half of the motherboard with the parallel port is fried, but you can plug in a USB printer and the computer will figure out a driver on it's own. (The USB port being the chest muscles on the working side of the body/brain, and the parallel port being the dead side of the brain, and the printer being the still working fine muscles on teh dead side of the body.)

Re:Dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26821229)

Yes, but that's not at all the same as what this experiment demonstrated.

In a stroke, the part of the brain which was supposed to control part of your body is damaged. In an amputation, the part of the body is missing but the part of the brain which controlled it is still there and functioning fine... connect the nerves to a different muscle, and you'll end up flexing that muscle whenever you intended to move the missing limb. That is what this experiment was able to pick up electronically and translate into motion in the prosthetic replacement.

Re:Dupe (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820893)

>>If the portion of your brain that's supposed to control your left hand is fried, the sort of thing they were doing in this experiment won't help you.

A neat thing about the brain is its incredible ability to rewire itself in response to changes in usage. The section of your brain dedicated to sight, for example, is used to process sound in blind people. Even sighted people, when deprived of all light, begin remapping their brain in this fashion after about a week or so. When exposed to light again, they literally can't see (or not very well at all) until another week has gone by and the functional map is restored. In the meantime, they 'see sound' and have various other interesting things happen to them.

Re:Dupe (2)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824903)

Can I get a citation on that? I've heard of it several times before, but have failed on finding it...

Re:Dupe (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824121)

It will.

The sort of thing they were doing in this experiment is to use a different part of the brain to control stuff.

Like learning to drive a car, this is learning to drive your prosthetic hand with your chest muscles.

You can use a mouse with either hand, and you can use it to control a gun/character that's not real in some game. If you have to, you could learn to use the mouse with your foot.

So using some other part of your body to control a prosthetic hand isn't far fetched.

Re:Dupe (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26830069)

Like learning to drive a car, this is learning to drive your prosthetic hand with your chest muscles.

No. It's not. This is re-wiring the nerve that used to control your arm, which you no longer have, so that it instead activates muscles in your chest. The muscle contractions in your chest then directly correlate to arm movements that you thought you performed, and the electronics in the prosthetic pick up those muscle contractions and translate them into the corresponding arm motion.

Re:Dupe (3, Interesting)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819943)

If you RTFS, you'll see that that article you link to was the pilot project with one person, and that this is a slightly larger project with several (TFA doesn't say how many) people.

Yes, but no new breakthroughs have been made. The only thing that's been proven is that the original subject, Jesse Sullivan, was not an isolated case and the procedure is repeatable. Even taking that into consideration, Claudia Mitchell [washingtonpost.com] had this procedure done in almost three years ago.

The only real news here is that the work is being submitted to the FDA.

Re:Dupe (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827205)

The only real news here is that the work is being submitted to the FDA.

Correction: That should be, "The only real news here is that the work is being published by JAMA." I guess being submitted to the FDA was just wishful thinking on my part.

The Cyborgs are comming. (2, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819209)

The question is would technology get to a point where our brains will interact better with machines then they do with our own bodies. Being that technology advances faster then evolution I could see it coming. I just hope they come with low power USB ports so I don't need a keyboard anymore.

Re:The Cyborgs are comming. (3, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819355)

I just want one of these things that interfaces with my computer as a Bluetooth HID. Think of it: mousing without having to lift your hands from the keyboard! And you only have to sacrifice the use of some vestigial muscle.

Really, if they can figure out how to key this thing off of that muscle that wiggles your ears, we could even maintain that classic bluetooth douchebag look by having something clipped on to our ears all the time.

Re:The Cyborgs are comming. (1)

rennerik (1256370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819425)

I, for one, welcome our new cyborg overlords.

Re:The Cyborgs are comming. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819637)

The brain tends to take tools and make them act like they're an extension of your body, ie when you turn the car, you don't think about the arm movement, you think about the car movement. If we get better interfaces between machines and the brain, I can't imagine that it wouldn't be as good as our own bodies, and I can easily see science finding a way to make it so that it becomes more "natural" to use tech than to use your own body.

In many ways this has already happened for me. It's almost as natural to log into my computer and use my web browser as it is to breathe.

Re:The Cyborgs are comming. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826189)

that is the point we consciously think about the cars movement. In theory we should be able to parallel park with using as much brain power as sitting down

Re:The Cyborgs are comming. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26839907)

You can be fairly sloppy when sitting down in most chairs/sofas - you won't usually cause kilobux of damage.

When there are no other cars around - just the parking bays, I can parallel park with only a bit more brain power as sitting down.

I suggest that you'd use as much brain power in parallel parking as you would use to sit between two highly electrified sheets of metal - with a gap of about 4 inches between you and the sheet on each side.

To me that's a fairer comparison.

If cars and parking bays were designed so that parking speed collisions won't cause any damage, then you'd use as much brain power to park as plonking yourself on a nice comfy sofa.

why just amputees? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819211)

I have two bio arms, but I would be quite like having a third arm I could control as naturally as my other two. This would be especially useful when using emacs.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819333)

Emacs? Why not just go for the quote from THHGTG Radio Show:

Trillian (to Zaphod): Please take your hand off me. And the other one. And the other one.
Zaphod: I grew that arm just for you, baby....

Re:why just amputees? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819471)

Because your brain isn't natively programmed to control three arms. There aren't any nerves to carry instructions to a third arm, either.

Of course, you'd have probably figured this out if you had RTFS, but I honestly don't expect that sort of mental effort from registered users, much less Anonymous Coward.

Re:why just amputees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819669)

Fine, then chop my legs off and wire those nerves up to a couple more arms. I'd find extra hands more useful than locomotion in most circumstances.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819679)

That doesn't necessarily mean you'd be able to use them very well. Can you type with your toes?

Re:why just amputees? (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821121)

Two finger(er toe) pecking, yes.

Touchtype, no.

Damn stubby toes.

Re:why just amputees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26825473)

That's more a problem with dexterity due to the physical design of feet rather than malleability of the brain in using them. If I had feet like a chimpanzee or orangutang, I probably could. But since I have human feet with limited flexibility in the toes, not really. It's just that much easier to use my hands. However some people who lose both arms or are born without arms still make do with task like this, even though human feet are a poor substitute for hands.

As for additional cybernetic arms, I'd think having another pair hands would be handy. Especially for things like holding stuff in place for soldering or perhaps when trying to keep some item or another steady when putting small screws in, etc. I could see people like car mechanics finding use for an extra pair of cybernetic prosthetic arms. Maybe such prosthetics won't need the full dexterity of the natural hands, but will offer great advantage when the free up the natural hands where their dexterity can be used to greater advantage.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826427)

You might think so, but it'd still take a significant amount of re-teaching your brain before you could effortlessly use the full dexterity in the artificial limb. Your brain isn't used to having it.

I'm not saying it couldn't be done. I'm just saying that it wouldn't be "as naturally as my other two" — it'd undoubtedly take some getting used to.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26840003)

Many people can't type well with their fingers either. They never have to.

Whereas some people can change a nappy, type etc with their toes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybgRS6832so [youtube.com]

Re:why just amputees? (2, Interesting)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819839)

Your brain also isn't 'programmed' to move a pointer around a computer screen, but if you implant electrodes in the brain and try it you can teach your brain to do so.

That was the big breakthrough with brain-computer interfaces, you don't need to find the exact neuron that controls each muscle because there isn't one. If you get the electrode in the general area the brain will do the rest. The human brain is a massively adaptable, feedback driven, self optimizing, neural network.

Re:why just amputees? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26821163)

Teach yourself != control as naturally as the bits you were born with.

Re:why just amputees? (3, Insightful)

F'Nok (226987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821903)

Yes it does!

When you are born you don't control the "bits you were born with" very well, you have to learn that.
It takes from for a baby to crawl, toddle, walk, run.
It takes more time to learn to do such things with accuracy, and more complicated control takes more time again - professional athletes and sports players are not born with the ability, it's is learnt through training and practice, which does exactly what the parent suggests.

If you are 30, then you have had 30 years "teaching yourself" to use all of the bits you were born with. So don't expect to learn new prosthesis (or other devices) to the same level of competency in a few weeks.

The challenge is making these things easy to learn to a 'useful' competency in a very short period; but actual competency would rise with more usage, and ultimately it could very easily exceed your skill with other parts of the body.

I would expect that an implanted 'mouse/keyboard interface' would be used much more competently than the limbs by someone that spends all day using it to interface with computers; likewise, I would expect an athlete to use the limbs much more competently than the computer interface.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26826491)

If you are 30, then you have had 30 years "teaching yourself" to use all of the bits you were born with. So don't expect to learn new prosthesis (or other devices) to the same level of competency in a few weeks.

Hello? That's exactly the scenario that TFA is claiming to have achieved: your brain still thinks it is manipulating the old limb! All you have to "teach yourself" is perhaps some slightly different stiffness and weirdness with its movement — even with a direct, arm-for-arm replacement, I doubt it'd be a 100% seamless transition, but the video definitely showed that large amounts of "re-teaching" the brain simply isn't needed.

Operating a third arm which your brain thinks is a leg is a quite different scenario.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

F'Nok (226987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26837059)

Incorrect, that's not what TFA said at all.

As I stated:

The challenge is making these things easy to learn to a 'useful' competency in a very short period; but actual competency would rise with more usage, and ultimately it could very easily exceed your skill with other parts of the body.

And THAT is what TFA claims to have achieved.

The prosthesis is different to your old limb, thus starting competency is higher than learning from nothing, but it's no where near 30 years training!
They are similar, but not the same, thus competency is not the same.

If I learn to juggle balls, then when I pick up pins to juggle I'll have a good idea how it's done, but I won't have the same skill level as juggling balls.

What they have achieved is similar. Consider the limb to be learning to juggle with balls, and the prosthesis is juggling pins.
People will immediately have a high level of familiarity, and a corresponding level of reasonable competence; but it is by no means equal.

It's a wonderful advance, but unless the limb is exactly replaced there will be a learning curve, because the brain is VERY finely tuned.
Something as small as lowering the muscle power in an arm causes a severe drop in competency because the brain is finely tuned for power application and manipulation, and it takes time for people to adjust after such things - that's why we need physical therapy even in cases without prosthesis!

Re:why just amputees? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26838901)

Ok, look, I'll just quote TFA:

surgeons transfer nerves that previously carried signals to the amputated limb to muscles in the chest and upper arm. The rerouted nerves then grow into the muscles, which contract when the patient thinks about moving the lost limb. Those signals are read by sensors on the prosthetic limb and translated into movement.

...They could reliably control the device within just two weeks.

As I said, I'm quite sure there will be a small learning curve — however, a few weeks is apparently adequate to become fairly adept with this prosthetic device. Again, perhaps not quite as adept as your natural limb – it might not even be a very good replacement as far as similarities in flexibility and motion go – but it's far better than trying to teach your brain that a particular shoulder muscle now controls your elbow.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26839959)

Well the brain can adapt to see with a tongue, so given a connection with suitable latency and bandwidth, I think it's not going to be that bad.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=seeing+tongue

As for lowering the muscle power in an arm, people experience that all the time - it's called "the arm is getting tired". People don't have to always take time to adjust _after_ these things. After some practice with using their arm, they know that they need to send "higher" impulses as the arm gets more tired.

Of course when the arm is too tired then competency drops dramatically, but before that the competency curve is still going to be fairly flat.

What you need is a low latency feedback loop, then the brain can know where the arm is and keep adjusting.

Re:why just amputees? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26823331)

The human brain is a massively adaptable, feedback driven, self optimizing, neural network.

Yeah, well MY brain is a neural net processor... a leahning computah!

Re:why just amputees? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26827973)

Of course, you'd have probably figured this out if you had RTFS, but I honestly don't expect that sort of mental effort from registered users, much less Anonymous Coward.

All they need is some motivation. I bet a triple breasted Real Doll(tm) would do the trick.

Stem Cells (1)

XB-70 (812342) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819327)

All this brain interface stuff is a dead end direction for amputees. Put the focus on stem cell limb regeneration. The US Army is behind it because it will be cheaper than wheelchairs and veteran's hospitals. http://www.imminst.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=26506 [imminst.org]

Re:Stem Cells (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819383)

Sure. But until stem cell therapy gets past the ground stages, this is nice. Hell, who knows... they might even be able to adapt it so people could control more limbs than they're born with.

Using your analogy, we shouldn't have done any development on steam engines since internal combustion engines would be so much better and just needed some more research.

Second point, robotics engineers are not cellular biologists. You can't just "divert resources" like that.

Re:Stem Cells (2, Funny)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819493)

Me, I'm just waiting in this mud hut until we have star travel so I can move to a nicer place on another planet.

Re:Stem Cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819553)

George Hussein Onyango Obama, is that you?

We already do (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824097)

We already control more limbs than we're born with.

Try using a mouse to control a pointer in a GUI.
Next, use a mouse to control a character in an FPS game.
Next, use a mouse to control little creatures in an RTS game.

After enough practice, when you do all of that do you actually think of where you move your arm, hands and fingers?

You don't. You just think of controlling some extension of yourself.

Same for typing, using a screwdriver, etc.

Same goes for driving car. If you drive a car, next time observe that your hands move near subconsciously to turn the steering wheel so as to satisfy your intention that your car stays in its lane (well that is if you're one of those drivers who can stick to one lane ;) ).

Why do you think most people have handedness? For most people learning to use a tool with the "other" hand is almost like learning to use a new tool all over again. It's not really a matter of "right" or "left", it's a matter of "different". Most people can't "flip" the "learnt mapping" to the other hand easily (which is what being ambidextrous is).

The dominant hand usually gets first choice in learning to use a tool. It doesn't necessarily mean your your "nondominant" hand is less "skilled", it is likely to be better at some things than your dominant hand (like using the other side of the keyboard ;) ).

On the other hand, there are some people like Nadal who is righthanded but learnt to play tennis with his left hand just to have an advantage :).

Re:We already do (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831049)

Most people can't "flip" the "learnt mapping" to the other hand easily (which is what being ambidextrous is).

I'd actually always figured that ambidexterity had more to do with having enough practice using both hands that you could control either one with a fair amount of precision. For instance, I'm naturally right-handed, but I (for whatever reason) learned to use scissors, knives, etc. with my left. As a result, I'm fairly dexterous with my left hand – to the point where, if I try to write left-handed, I can actually make it look fairly good (until my wrist/hand tires, which happens pretty quickly since I write extremely slowly and laboriously with the left hand).

Re:Stem Cells (1)

carvalhao (774969) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825511)

Judging by how most people drive, I'd say we have enough problems with controlling ONLY FOUR limbs...

Re:Stem Cells (3, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819519)

Dead end? Having a prosthetic limb which can be controlled as if it was your own lost limb certainly doesn't seem like a "dead end". Tech that we have now is always superior to tech that we might probably get sometime in the future — right up until such a time as we have the newer, better tech. This experiment might just be proof-of-concept, but it looks relatively close to being user-ready (as opposed to limb regeneration, which holds promise but who knows when we'll actually be able to do it).

By that reasoning, I'd refuse to upgrade from dial-up until they ran a fibre link to my home.

Re:Stem Cells (1)

JuzzFunky (796384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822703)

I wonder how long it will be until the prosthetic hand can outperform a biological hand in terms of speed [www.cbc.ca] and strength. Every time I see a massive excavator I think of how cool it would be to join 5 of them together as fingers in a massive hand!

Re:Stem Cells (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819657)

On the plus side, brain interfaces have all sorts of fun transhumanist applications to look forward to, and if it helps some cripples function in the meantime, all the better.

Re:Stem Cells (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819677)

This has application beyond that of amputees. Brain-technology interfaces could be used with many things even for people who are completely healthy. Imagine being able to control a car, jackhammer, or computer without physical movements. Stem cells won't provide that functionality any time in the near future.

Re:Stem Cells (1)

francium de neobie (590783) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819743)

Why? Your native limbs have a fixed performance range and are not really efficient. Wouldn't you like to be able to run a Marathon without breaking a sweat? Or be able to use emacs on a qwerty keyboard all day without suffering carpal tunnel syndrome? Have no problem of leaving oily fingerprints on your iPhone? Have no problem carrying your 17" DTR notebook around with you wherever you go?

Re:Stem Cells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26820531)

or... ENLARGE YOUR PENIS! :P (someone had to say it, and there were no spam bots around...)

Re:Sweatless marathon (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26828411)

That's usually called driving.

Really, it sounds like you are looking forward to putting your brain in a vat of goo. Have fun.

Re:Stem Cells (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26824857)

Stem Cell regeneration is a dead end. Instead, what we need to do is find the genetic differences in the MRL strain of mice, and use gene therapy.

Just be careful when you talk about this (3, Funny)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819387)

Now guys, just be careful not to mention that eventually this brain controlled arm could be used to masturbate or wield a gun since that would get the pubs and dems to cut funding respectively.:-)

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (1)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819571)

They still have a problem with determining how much force to use when picking up objects. I'd hate to have that same problem when jerking off.

Of course, I'd only have that problem if I has a prosthetic dick too.

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819639)

Of course, I'd only have that problem if I has a prosthetic dick too.

I have a prosthetic dick you insensitive clod!

Painful word choice!! (2, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820143)

I'd hate to have that same problem when jerking off.

You might want to rephrase that....

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26831075)

Of course, I'd only have that problem if I has a prosthetic dick too.

That's what she said.

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (1)

hypergreatthing (254983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819649)

Or better yet, the military can invest in it so that soldiers can finally hold onto their rifles and their "guns" at the same time.

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821171)

Correction:
"...could be used to masturbate and wield a gun ..."

Re:Just be careful when you talk about this (1)

JuzzFunky (796384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26822655)

As long as you don't to both at the same time then it will be fine.

They forgot to mention the big success (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819489)

They've had this in rough form for a while now. But recent advancements have resulted in a 65% reduction in incidents of the prosthetic arm attempting to strangle the user to death.

The title should be (1)

BentoMan (1462597) | more than 5 years ago | (#26819535)

Bad News for Viagra Manufacturer Pfizer

Army of Darkness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819673)

Ash says, "Groovy."

Anonymous Coward (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26819955)

Question; I'm a little vague as to why the nerves have to be moved to healthy muscle tissue? Is it because there are currently no sensors that can read impulses directly from the nerves themselves, and require muscle contraction to 'amplify' the signal?

Re:Anonymous Coward (2, Informative)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26821073)

Basically, yes. Sensing muscle activity is way easier/less noisy than picking up nerve impulses and the muscle action provides feedback to the nerves, which encourages them not to atrophy.

Nerve Connection (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825167)

I'm a little disappointed by that aspect though (see comment below). It seems like a direct nerve link is more elegant, and more likely to restore sensation. Hopefully the research will get to that phase at some point. Human hand transplants seem to prove that hooking up nerves to after-market hardware is possible.

Re:Nerve Connection (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26831515)

The problem with direct nerve stimulation, whether by electrode or induction, is that it tends to kill the nerves.

Perhaps if they could invent a chemical nerve stimulator, it might work out better.

Three things (1)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#26820641)

1. They have the luxury of editing to find the best looking trials. I'm sure these don't work as well as they seem. But as a person with a background in psychology, I suspect that after a few hundred hours of using them, these people would have excellent control over them.

2. Picking up the cracker... How do wash these fingers? They're going to need food gloves for them.

3. Is there a nice break between the arm and the pickups on the body? Is there a radio link between that stub and the arm? There needs to be, because any shock to the arm could hurt those connections. Accidental bumping, firm handshakes, etc. Though if there is a radio-based break, and jarring doesn't stop the arm, then the arm can be firmly attached to a brace around the whole body with a counterweight, and the next step is cyborg kung foo.

Science fiction coming true. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26821149)

"The bartender's smile widened. His ugliness was the stuff of legend. In an age of affordable beauty, there was something heraldic about his lack of it. The antique arm whined as he reached for another mug. It was a Russian military prosthesis, a seven-function force-feedback manipulator, cased in grubby pink plastic."

Direct Nerve Interface (1)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 5 years ago | (#26825147)

I see that this project still involves the kludge of having sensors reading muscle contractions, rather than a direct interface between the leftover nerves and a nerve-sensor of some kind. A direct connection makes more sense if you can make it work, partly because it allows for sensation as well as motion.

Is there more research going on in that direction? It seemed as though DARPA's "Proto" arm series was moving towards a direct nerve interface.

Meanwhile, human hand transplants [wikipedia.org] have had some success at establishing two-way nerve connections between nerves that weren't originally part of the same body. (Actually the info readily available isn't clear on the "two-way" part.) So, the theory that you can basically "hook up the wires" and have a working replacement limb seems proven; it's just not practical yet.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?