AMPUTEES could use the power of their minds to control new AI robotic arms, research shows.
A team of scientists has created prosthetic technology that enables people to control robot arms by using their brain impulses.
A team of scientists has created new technology that could allow amputees to control prosthetics by using the power of their minds Credit: Getty
The University of Minnesota team of researchers came together to find a more intuitive option for amputees, a new study shows.
"With prosthetic systems, when amputees want to move a finger, they don't actually think about moving a finger," research scientist Jules Anh Tuan Nguyen said.
"They're trying to activate the muscles in their arms since that's what the system reads."
Current technology forces amputees to use the remaining muscles in their arms to move their prosthetics.
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Sophisticated models can use sensors to detect small muscle movements, but the majority of prosthetics rely on a wire and harness system that uses the shoulder and chest, SciTechDaily reported.
Nguyen said the research team is trying to use brain impulses that humans normally rely on to move their arms, as both of the current options have a steep learning curve.
"It's a lot more intuitive than any commercial system out there," Nguyen said.
"For our technology, because we interpret the nerve signal directly, it knows the patient's intention.
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"If they want to move a finger, all they have to do is think about moving that finger."
The project began in 2012 after an industry neuroscientist approached University of Minnesota Associate Professor Zhi Yang about developing a nerve implant for amputees.
Together, the pair received funding from the US government and have conducted several successful clinical trials, SciTechDaily said.
Right now, their technology relies on wires that come through the skin and connect to an exterior AI interface.
However, they are working towards an implantable chip that could remotely connect to a computer.
This could allow people to control their prosthetics, and other personal devices, with their minds.
"The fact that we can impact real people and one day improve the lives of human patients is really important," Nguyen said.
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"For the past three or four years, I've had the privilege of working with several human patients.
"I can get really emotional when I can help them move their finger or help them do something that they didn't think was possible before."