Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic have developed an advanced bionic arm that allows users with upper limb amputations to achieve a level of function similar to non-amputees. The system incorporates a sense of touch and movement and allows intuitive motor control. The device is intended for users who have undergone targeted sensory and motor reinnervation procedures in which motor and sensory neurons are redirected to the skin and muscles of the residual limb, allowing them to communicate with the bionic limb.
Bionic prostheses are progressing at a good pace. The latter device is complex, but has impressive functionality. “We modified a standard care prosthesis with this complex bionic system that allows users to move the prosthesis arm more intuitively and feel sensations of touch and movement at the same time,” said Paul Marasco, a researcher involved in the study. “These findings are an important step toward providing people with amputation with the complete restoration of natural arm function.”
Although robotic prostheses with a sense of touch had been created before, this new device also includes a sense of movement, so users can feel the feel of their arm moving through space. This is achieved by small robots that vibrate, activating kinesthetic sensory receptors in the muscles of the residual limb. Being more aware of your limbs seems to improve the ability of users to use it. For example, users were able to perform tasks with their new bionic limb without looking at it, as they would with a normal arm, which until now was difficult for upper limb prosthesis users.
“Over the last decade or two, advances in prosthetics have helped users achieve better functionality and manage daily life on their own,” Marasco said. “For the first time, people with upper limb amputations can now ‘rethink’ as a person with the ability to offer prosthetic users new levels of perfect reintegration into daily life.”
The technology is not for everyone, as users must have undergone targeted sensory and motor reinnervation, in which a surgical procedure redirects sensory and motor neurons to the skin and muscles of the limb. residual, allowing better communication between the limb and the prosthesis. So far, the device has been tested in two of these patients and its performance with the limb has been impressive.
“Perhaps what we were most excited to know is that they made judgments, decisions, and calculated and corrected their mistakes as a person without amputation,” Marasco said. “With the new bionic limb, people behaved as if they had a natural hand. These brain behaviors are usually very different between people with and without upper limb prostheses.
Via: Cleveland Clinic