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Bionic Arm Might Go Into Clinical Trials

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the nice-to-shake-your-hand dept.

Medicine 107

prostoalex writes "The bionic arm project sponsored by DARPA is nearing completion, and might undergo clinical trials. 'The arm has motor control fine enough for test subjects to pluck chocolate-covered coffee beans one by one, pick up a power drill, unlock a door, and shake a hand. Six preconfigured grip settings make this possible, with names like chuck grip, key grip, and power grip. The different grips are shortcuts for the main operations humans perform daily.'"

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don't forget the beta transmitter (4, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279100)

The bionic arm project sponsored by DARPA is nearing completion, and might undergo clinical trials.

Great! Now we can rescue Super Joe!

Re:don't forget the beta transmitter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22287420)

Cheers! [kanati.com.ph]

IMPORTANT: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279124)

can it be programmed for jacking off?


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279384)

Indeed, this is the perfect accessory for my robotic penis.


Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279614)

What do you think the chuck grip setting is for?


sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279658)

When it comes to something that important I would say the simplest solution is the best one. So...use the other hand? Fleshlight?

Other uses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279132)

Six preconfigured grip settings make this possible, with names like chuck grip, key grip, and power grip.
Good to see that this hand is designed to help the user with his or her sex life.

That sound (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279140)

This is the part where somebody makes a joke about the "bionic" sound, then people fight over how to Ascii-tize it. "It's Tsk Tsk Tsk", "No you big dummy, it's Tsh Tsh Tsh", "You're both wrong, you Microsoft-lovers, it's Mnp Mnp Mnp..."

Re:That sound (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279544)

I wasn't thinking of the bionic sound, but rather that the recipient of the arm was going to have to agree to be filmed lifting heavy things in slow motion.

Power grip (5, Interesting)

Zouden (232738) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279166)

The name "power grip" makes me wonder if these arms could be stronger than human ones. I don't see any reason why not. Does this mean that when an amputee receives one of these arms, he could do things that a normal human couldn't? Bionic arm recipients might become highly sought-after in the construction industry.

Re:Power grip (2, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279236)

Does this mean that when an amputee receives one of these arms, he could do things that a normal human couldn't?

When somebody cuts me off in traffic, it would indeed be satisfying to give them a 2-foot-long birdy.

There are a couple reasons. (5, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279268)

"I don't see any reason why not."

The power of the arm is limited by the amount of power the motors in the arm can generate, which in turn is limited by the size of the battery in the arm. Since the power is limited, the amount of force that can be applied by the arm is also limited, as the arm will need to be able move at a reasonable speed. When you see a hydraulic arm performing tasks of immense strength, it is important to note the motor attached to it. In most cases an internal combustion engine would be too heavy to use in a bionic arm (and too noisy).

More importantly, the "core strength" of the person is unaffected by the arm, so the force applied in most tasks (tasks requiring the muscles in the back and legs) would be limited by the person's other muscles in the event that the arm were significantly stronger. Of course if the arm is not able to apply as much force as the rest of the body, the arm becomes the limiting factor.

Also, the connection of the arm to the person could be the limiting factor, depending on how it attached.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (4, Interesting)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279392)

It also depends on what sacrifices you want to make. If this arm should be able to do pretty much everything a normal hand can, its very unlikely that it would be stronger than a normal arm. But theoretically, you could make it much, much stronger in a certain situations. For example, the fingers lose power when the wrist is in a certain position, this could easily be done differently in a mechanical arm, but it probably would have its disadvantages.

The fact they have some perticular programmed positions shows that some movements are of much higher priority than others, so its quite possible this arm will completely skip some ranges of motion, and that will free up room for strength in other areas.

A perfect example is the athlete slashdot recently had an a story about, who had mechanical legs that were deemed more efficient than human legs. They were great for running, but worthless for anything else.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279582)

In other words, the only part of it that could be made really strong is the fingers. So it could squeeze a brick to powder, but it couldn't lift much more than an average human arm. That makes sense. It'd be a neat party trick, but not much use in the real world.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279750)

I see many reasons why it won't be stronger in the traditional form.

we are yet to equal the weight to strength ratio of muscles and bones.

however, lets say they make arms with attachable addons, like stablizers for heavy lifting i could see them doing amazing things.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22281540)

Yet to equal? I'd say we can build things much stronger than the waterbags we operate in. What we cannot match, however, is self-maintenance and repair.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283622)

I'd say we can build things much stronger than the waterbags we operate in.

Do you have an example? Last I heard mechanical systems were something like an order of magnitude off from the efficiency of muscles. Remember the issue is strength-to-weight-ratio, not strength. You can make a machine that can lift as much as 10 men could, but it'll weigh a lot more than 10 men (including the weight of whatever is powering it, of course).

What we cannot match, however, is self-maintenance and repair.

Then again, metal fatigue takes a lot longer than organic fatigue. This is not necessarily a problem. There are many mechanical systems designed to last several hundred years. We can start worrying about how long these things will last when we start having humans that last that long. Efficiency is a much bigger concern.

Re:There are a couple reasons. (1)

fatphil (181876) | more than 6 years ago | (#22280886)

See the mythbusters superhero special. Jamie's winch.

Warning: Following answer applies to v3.0. (2, Funny)

Jesus_666 (702802) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284416)

> Well, you can. But remember that artificial arms start with a strength of 4 and already cost you one whole essence point. If you want to boost the strength past 7 you'll end up losing another 0.4 essence per strength point, not to mention the space high-level boosts take up.

If you ask me, you're much better off getting artificial muscles. They're one essnce per level, but the strength applies to your whole body and not to a single limb. Or, better yet, go with bioware and get your muscles enhanced. Sure, you're susceptible to stress-related issues, but you don't go blowing out essence points on chrome that won't help you anywhere but in arm wrestling competitions. Plus four points of strength via bioware cost 80.000 bucks, no more than the same in artificial muscles - the artificial arm comes at 110.000 vanilla and 50.000+ per strength upgrade. If you have a high base strength, you'd pay as much for an artificial arm that even matches your strength as for four levels of muscle enhancements and a pain editor. And the prothesis doesn't even help you deal with injuries

Oh, and stay the hell away from Aztech products. Worst drek on the market.
Peace out, chummer.
> Jesus_666

Let's raise the question... (5, Interesting)

Mantaar (1139339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279202)

... how long until people actually want such an arm?

Seriously, I'm not trolling - I'm just trying to raise an interesting discussion (which, in some cases might be quite similar)...
Let's consider this: once cosmetic operations were not for the rich an famous to fulfill their goal of beauty (or not), but for repairing damage that might have occurred in an accident or through genetic failures. In the beginning any surgery performed on the human body was a correction.

Nowadays some people view it as an enhancement.

And who wouldn't like to have more strength in his arm, be able to type as fast as Data or maybe have a hard drive hooked up to his brain? Once the technology advances sufficiently, this could become commonplace... how long? Ten, twenty years?

What are the ethical and sociological implications? Is this already going to be the first step of realizing Transhumanism [wikipedia.org] - just not exactly in the same way Nietzsche envisioned? Discuss!

Re:Let's raise the question... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279318)

It's a small step from using cosmetic surgery to make disfigured humans look normal to making ugly humans look attractive. Amputating a perfectly functional human arm because you'd rather have a robotic one isa rather larger step.

Adding extra CPU - some sort of co-processor, say, or a built-in phone or whatever seems more likely, as it's only adding something extra. Going John Wayne Bobbitt because you want to become Robocock? Less likely.

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

toddian (997999) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279648)

However it wouldn't need to be an amputation. Perhaps a pair of bionic arms with a secure harness-type upper body attachment, controlled by the non-amputees hands. That being said, at this point we're straying into the realm of full-body mech suits. Still, there would be some useful applications out there.

Re:Let's raise the question... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280184)

Indeed it would be a large step, but consider the sex change - major reconstruction of sensitive and important organs as well as cosmetic surgery to the face and body and a cocktail of hormones. Many people have already stepped up to have them. If there is a compelling enough practical or psychological reason for people to get modified/extra body parts, someone will.

Re:Let's raise the question... (2, Funny)

frankmu (68782) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279566)

you know, i was thinking while putting together the IKEA bunk bed for the kids... if i only had an extra pair of hands. now i can rent one! sorta like Kali

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279676)

"Tommy John surgery" was originally developed as a way to repair a baseball pitcher's damaged elbow ligament. Scientific American had an article not too long ago suggesting that the surgery is dangerously close to an enhancement, as it improved the mechanical advantage of the muscles in the pitching motion.

While it's not a "bionic" replacement (the donor ligament is still tissue harvested from elsewhere in the patient's body) there are still ethical questions to be asked whether or not a healthy player should be permitted to undergo the surgery simply to improve his performance. (I don't know if that's happened or not.)

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 6 years ago | (#22280064)

While it's not a "bionic" replacement (the donor ligament is still tissue harvested from elsewhere in the patient's body) there are still ethical
[shouldn't that be "fairness"?]

questions to be asked whether or not a healthy player should be permitted to undergo the surgery simply to improve his performance.
If they don't allow steroid use, why the hell would they allow that? Personally, I'm close to saying I don't care about steroid use, but as it would effectively make their use a stone-hard requirement, and there are health implications (physical and mental), I suppose the ban is necessary. Still, I have a hard time understanding why people are so furious at Bary Bonds.

Re:Let's raise the question... (5, Interesting)

luciddr34m3r (1232248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279854)

Well, I know I'm answering a different question, but I'm answering my version of it anyway. I suffer from a condition where I have only about 10% of the use of my right arm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brachial_plexus_injury [wikipedia.org]). I have no fine motor skills at all. My wrist has been surgically fused. I've had several tendons and muscles moved in my shoulders, forearm, and wrist to increase its function (with limited, but some success). I can preform some basic tasks, such as propping boxes and things on it to help carry things, and I can open doors using my elbow. According to doctors, my condition will deteriorate steadily as time goes on (I'm 21 now) due to several factors, and there is even a chance (however small) it will need to be amputated later in life.

I always love reading news articles like this, because I know we have the technology to create a fully functional replacement arm, but we just haven't done it. Fortunately, this is a big step in the right direction. The question I ask myself though, is how good does a replacement arm have to be before I would decide to amputate and replace my current arm (of course there's always the questions of if a doctor would actually do this and all that, but thats a different story). For me to replace my current live arm with a robotic one would require it to be a pretty good model. The noninvasive interface sounds good, but its clunky and hard to use. I've seem people use current prosthetics this way, and the thought of it makes me cringe. Before using a robotic arm, I would need it to be controlled with my brain somehow. Of course many people have probably seen articles where they are actually trying to do this (and being met with success), but I don't think the two projects are related, although I hope they become related soon. Not only would I require it to be controlled with my mind, I would want it to have at least 90% of the functionality of a standard arm. I would not want to replace it unless I would be able to use it to type after enough therapy. Of course I'd never expect to be as fast with it as I am even with just one hand now, but if it doesn't have that much dexterity, I wouldn't bother getting it. Of course I'm being exceptionally picky since I at least have an arm to begin with. Ideally, I would like there to be some sort of sensory response, so I could have some feeling (I currently have almost no feeling from the elbow down). I know they are also making big advancements in this kind of technology. Finally, I would want it to look like a human arm. Maybe not exactly alike, but I would it so I could take of my shirt, and people would have to look closely to notice. I'd want to be able to shake hands with it without someone noticing (which means it should possibly also be heated to roughly 98 degrees F).

I'm willing to answer any further questions as well if anyone has any, or if there are any amputees in the audience, please throw in your $0.02 as well.

Oh yeah, and a can opener attachment would be nice......

Re:Let's raise the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280244)

You're thinking about the 'brain-control' thing the wrong way imo. Once you get used to twitching real muscles in weird places to make your bionic arm do your bidding, it will rapidly become second-nature to the point where you don't even have to consiously think about it anymore.

I agree it's easy to imagine some future system that scans your brainwaves while you use a mirror-box to train your bionic arm in a much faster. Still, this current technology is pretty damn good.

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

luciddr34m3r (1232248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22280284)

While I agree that it would probably become second nature quickly, it is a bit of a hassle, especially if you intend to have all of the degrees of freedom of a normal arm, you just don't have enough muscles to twitch The technology for reading brainwaves is definitely a long way off still, to be sure, but there is plenty of time to refine it, and they really are already pretty far along. Again, I'm being particularly picky since I still have a partly functional organic arm.

Cybernetics or stem cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283024)

Or you could wait for stem cell therapy to repair your nerves organically. If you amputate you'd need stem cells to regrow the whole arm, which is probably more difficult.

Re:Cybernetics or stem cells? (1)

luciddr34m3r (1232248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284000)

Well, now we are talking about a totally separate treatment method. Getting an organic arm is an entirely different ballpark. Unfortunately, due to the never damage, my arm has had developmental problems, and its significantly smaller than my left. Also, I've had several surgeries that would at the very lease be difficult to reverse, so I believe repairing the nerves with stem cell therapy would not have the desired effect, although I'm sure it could potentially help. I'm not sure if I'd want a regrown organic arm. The criteria for if I would want it would be similar to a robotic arm though I suppose.

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

acherusia (995492) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284156)

Don't ask for a can opener attachment! Once they start giving human amputees bionic arms with can openers, the day will come when cats are given bionic legs with can openers. The human race will be doomed!

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

Ginnungagap (1232474) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284732)

You can actually try out these new technologies, and gain further insight into their pracical use without having to amoputate. You might not even have to amputate at all, how about assisted movement? I'd like to recommend a book on the topic of artificial human enhancement and much more called Natural born cyborgs [amazon.com] (amazon.com) It will probably help you with insight into different user interfaces in bionics, how they work and what will probably be most fitting for you. I believe you'll find that there probably isn't much need to be as invasive a you suggest. The brain's body-image it seems, is incredibly plastic, and can easily be extended to encompass technological tools. The interface method actually seems to be more or less unimportant with some training. But there are many different approaches to interface circuitry both internally and externally that has made quite some progress in later years. So keep your arm and use it for what it's worth, but don't hesitate to augment it's function with technology. The fact the your cellphone isn't surgically attached doesn't diminish the extra capability it provides you. Also one thing most people here seems to have forgotten, yes electronic limbs need batteries to provide their "strength". But they also have the added advantage of simple mechanics; it takes power to apply a certain amount of pressure, or lift. but it takes no power to lock your limbs in contracted/lifted position and hold them there. That being one of the main reasons China is investing in exoskeletons [slashdot.org] (slashdot) for their farmworkers.

It's the input for me. (1)

AlecLyons (767385) | more than 6 years ago | (#22285526)

I guess someone with your condition would have given this much more though that me...but the biggest turn off for me about this technology would be losing the sense of touch. I suspect that getting this from a bionic arm will come ALOT later than dexterity.

Re:It's the input for me. (1)

luciddr34m3r (1232248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22286076)

Well, I already have little to no sense of touch, but they are making progress in the area of providing sensory feedback from my understanding, but yes, it's probably one of the farthest off aspects.

Re:Let's raise the question... (2, Interesting)

nanostuff (1224482) | more than 6 years ago | (#22286628)

I recall a DARPA paper that mentioned the next generation of this arm in 2011 is expected to have proprioception. This is perhaps the biggest setback in the technology. Without proprioception you must continuously focus on the position of your arm and fingers, making casual tasks such as typing, as we know it, impossible.

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

mechapants (1059980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22287464)

I hear ya on this one. Reading these articles about the research into prosthetics make me think the future will not be so grim. I am in a similar situation as you. I have rheumatoid arthritis in my knees and can't walk so well. I'm also young like you (23). Looking at this research makes me think that maybe sometime in my life, it will be possible to have leg replacements that will be functional just like normal ones. Maybe give me the chance to ski again and all that jazz.

For the question you asked about when you would make the jump to robotic, for me it's a combination of how much mobility it will give me and how much pain it will relieve. Would adding this progress my arthritis to different parts of my body? Would I be able to heal properly, or would the attach location (hips) develop arthritis? Benefits would be no more constant pain, no more medication and possibly a return to a more normal functioning life.

Maybe some day it will come to people like us. This just brings it that much closer.

Re:Let's raise the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280212)

how long until people actually want such an arm?
About five seconds after some grammar nazi enlightens us all on the vast differences between raising and begging the question. Skull Squisher 3000, here I come.

Re:Let's raise the question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280576)

Finally, a pimp hand strong enough to my real doll stable in line!

Re:Let's raise the question... (1)

cytg.net (912690) | more than 6 years ago | (#22280986)

yes. and its problary one of the better ways to embrace the technology of tomorrow, alternatives leaves us.. well, dead.

COOL! (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279210)

Now I can cash out my savings, remove my limb and get one of these bad boys to hardware hack! I'm a put a chain on mine and be like Bionic Commando. And oh yeah, jerk mode.

Well I guess... (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22282278)

...That there are advantages in being the first and only person who gets to jerk your chain.

Not sure if its worth an arm though...

This is pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279252)

But it would have better if the arm had a kung-fu grip, ala G.I. Joe

Get A Grip (1)

milesbparty (527555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279278)

Six preconfigured grip settings make this possible, with names like chuck grip, key grip, and power grip...

If I had a bionic arm, it would only have one grip: Crush.
Of course, that would have to be my LEFT arm...

Re:Get A Grip (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279448)

If I had a bionic arm, it would only have one grip: Crush.

That's what the "chuck grip" is - Chuck Norris. [chucknorrisfacts.com]

Remember, Chuck Norris' hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.

Kung fu grip (3, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279324)

What? No kung fu grip? What a gyp.

Re:Kung fu grip (2, Insightful)

Cyberia (70947) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279490)

Actually, If I was a potential recipient of the arm, I would insist on a FU-grip. Ultra fast, efficient perfect single [middle] finger salute! And maybe a plethora of single hand or double in the case of a double amputee sign language insults to be volleyed at a moments notice.

Re:Kung fu grip (2, Funny)

wiredlogic (135348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279600)

You've identified a significamt limitation in current electro-mechanicical prosthetics. I suggest you take out a patent on an 'apparatus for enabling gestural espression by amputees'.

Re:Kung fu grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281518)

What a gyp.

You should avoid that term in future, use it in front of somebody of Romani descent and they'll think you are racist.

Re:Kung fu grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22285832)

True. Call them "thieving pikey bastards" instead.

the messsage boards suck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279416)

and fuck the faggot open source fag bitches.

Re:the messsage boards suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281626)


Although you covered the basic criteria - you insulted something that most of the slashdot crowd like, and you insulted the slashdot crown itself - your troll was unsuccessful because it was far too transparent.

Keep trying.

Six Million Dollar Man (1)

mark0 (750639) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279430)

I often think of the show (especially with Bionic Woman in remake...) and ponder "only six million dollars?" How rapidly our expectations rise while the real dollar drops...

Handjob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279462)

Give yourself a 'stranger'. :)

Commerical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279474)

Prosthetic leg, $15,000 Bionic Arm, $100,000 Not having to threaten to bite the legs off your opponent, Priceless. There's some things money can buy. For everything else, there's Kaiser Permanente.

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279516)

Human arms are about dexterity not strength. A replacement arm only needs to have moderate strength for moving, pulling and criping.

Building a arm that can pickup 50lbs isn't a marvel, building a arm that will alway someone to draw fluidly is.

Suggested use. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279588)

Armwrestling insurgents (and demonstrators).

Safety warning : (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279700)

"Jack off with remaining biological arm"

Anti groundhog grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22279718)

The chuck grip is obviously meant to be used on groundhogs, a.k.a. woodchucks, when those ungrateful little creatures will promise us six more weeks of winter. Although, up here that wouldn't make much difference.

By the way: how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck would chuck wood?

Hopefully DARPA grows a spine..... (2, Informative)

iq in binary (305246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279740)

And keeps this project funded until it finds a private investor.

I've worked on DARPA funded projects before, and there are many ingenious and utterly useful ideas that almost got there but never did. DARPA funds run out, and DARPA never picked up funding on the projects again. We're talking life saving inventions and concepts, almost ready and out the door, DARPA dropped them.

There was a friend of mine that developed a snake-cam (for rescue rovers like those used at the WTC) that could extend and retract into a module up to 2 feet, with the same mobility as the snake-cams you see SWAT and medical personnel use (Trachioscopies, etc.), geared specifically for rescue use. Had the mechanical side figured out, was working out kinks in the remote control aspect of the pullies (involved in the design to manipulate the "snake"), and DARPA pulled funding short. 9/11 came shortly there-after, but it was too late to revive the idea, my buddy went out of business and abandoned it.

But something like this? I would personally dedicate my online presence to putting something together a-la-Child's Play to keep these guys in business.

Any ideas in case DARPA twinkie-spines this one?

needs better sensory feedback (2, Interesting)

starshining (998625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279794)

This arm is very unlikely to ever get used by more than a few people. The problem is that the feedback of position and force is via vibrating pads. This is way too crude. Studies of patients who have lost sensation in their arms but retained motor control (so they can move the arm and hand fully but cannot feel where it is) reveals that most of those patients undergo elective amputation within a few years. So building a prosthesis that has tons of degrees of freedom is simply not the answer. Many such devices have been developed and subsequently rejected by patients. The real breakthrough will come with tactile and positional feedback that is fed directly into neurons in the nerve stump.

Re:needs better sensory feedback (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22280790)

The human mind is amazingly adaptable. Vibration and pressure feedback can be relearned as a position/velocity feedback. Direct neuro feedback is so far away it still in the realm of super science, not even science fiction.

Re:needs better sensory feedback (1)

starshining (998625) | more than 6 years ago | (#22283362)

Vibration and pressure feedback has been tried many times. People do learn the patterns and can relate them to position and velocity. However, the learning process is long when there are more than just a few sensors (35 would be daunting to say the least), the donning/doffing procedures are a daily hassle (and if you bump it or even sit down abruptly, you have to reposition it), you can't go swimming or take a shower or bath with it on, there are frequent maintenance issues, so it is in the shop as much as it is on your back, a fairly large surface area is needed (making it harder to don/doff because it is usually located on your back), skin irritation is a big problem, especially with interfaces that provide feedback with an electrical tingle, the range of intensity of vibration and pressure is insufficient to cover the range of movement without being uncomfortable. There are many other issues as well. In the end, there has to be a better way. It is actually pretty easy to develop a prosthesis with many degrees of freedom and smooth motor movement from a joystick. The hard part is the prosthetic-human interface.

If this is DARPA (1)

boundary (1226600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279866)

Hold on a minute...if this is DARPA why aren't they doing tests on how effective it is at ripping Iraqis' throats out? Is the bionic handshake the caring, sharing shape of things to come? It'll make a crap movie!

Use your real arm first (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22279974)

I take it that DARPA have funded this with injured soldiers in mind. I would advise young Americans to use their real arms to stick one finger up at military recruiters so that they will not require this advanced arm at a later date.

YUO FAIL IT... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280564)



Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22280704)

"with names like chuck grip, key grip, and power grip"

Extend this a little and it would sound like a repertoire of the Crysis Suit :olo:

Hardly bionic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22281260)

Kamen's New Hampshire-based medical products company (perhaps best known for the Segway), is a two-year $18.1 million 2007 effort to give amputees an advanced prosthesis that could be available immediately "for people who want to literally strap it on and go." Kamen's team designed the Deka arm to be controlled with noninvasive measures, using an interface a bit like a joystick.

Its more like remote control IMO Bionic includes direct neural feedback.

Amputees need it too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22283152)

There should be a fap grip...oh wait that's the power grip.

Cool! An Anne Hathaway/Minnie Driver love scene! (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22284050)

"Cool! Nice arm, Joe!"

"Thanks! Here, lemme plug it into the computer. Check out all these grips I can select."

"Chuck grip. Key grip. Power grip. Hey, what's Charlizetheron grip?"

"Uhhh...that's for sweeping, yeah, sweeping!"
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