Friday, February 22, 2013

A Robotic Limb For Humans

Medical Advances

Robotic Limb: The technology, developed by Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, is the first that uses implanted electrodes, thereby allowing greater mobility and more degrees of freedom.
Photo Credit: Chalmers University of Technology, 2013
SourceChalmers University of Technology
An article in ScienceDaily says that surgeons have attached a robotic-type limb to a human in what it has described as the first of its kind. In the operation, the Swedish surgical team attached electrodes to the nerves and muscles of the human patient, thereby allowing the prosthesis natural movements and greater degree of control.
A surgical team led by Dr Rickard Brånemark, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, has carried out the first operation of its kind, where neuromuscular electrodes have been permanently implanted in an amputee. The operation was possible thanks to new advanced technology developed by Max Ortiz Catalan, supervised by Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Bo Håkansson at Chalmers University of Technology.
 "The new technology is a major breakthrough that has many advantages over current technology, which provides very limited functionality to patients with missing limbs," says Rickard Brånemark.
Big challenges. There have been two major issues on the advancement of robotic prostheses: 1) how to firmly attach an artificial limb to the human body; 2) how to intuitively and efficiently control the prosthesis in order to be truly useful and regain lost functionality.
"This technology solves both these problems by combining a bone anchored prosthesis with implanted electrodes," said Rickard Brånemark, who along with his team has developed a pioneering implant system called Opra, Osseointegrated Prostheses for the Rehabilitation of Amputees.
This is promising news for amputees, who for various reasons of accidents and genetic abnormalities, have had to rely on the use of a prosthesis to replace arms and legs. Until now, such a prosthesis has generally relied on electrodes attached on the surface, thus limiting motion to two degrees of freedom. The implanted-electrodes approach allows greater mobility, functionality and more degrees of freedom.

You can read the rest of the article at [ScienceDaily]