US Scientists develop thought-controlled Robot Arm

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Yas
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US Scientists develop thought-controlled Robot Arm

Postby Yas » 20 Feb 2005, 02:32

Scientists in the US have created a robotic arm that can be controlled by thought alone. Developed at Pittsburgh University, it has a fully mobile shoulder and elbow and a gripper that works like a hand. In early tests, monkeys had tiny probes inserted into their brains and had their limbs restrained - but were then able to manipulate the robotic arm. The inventors believe it could help people who have lost limb function through disease or trauma. The mechanical arm research was described at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held this year in Washington DC.

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Human tests have already shown corresponding patterns of brain signals linked to limb movements.

Dr Andrew Schwartz's team inserted a number of tiny probes into the brains of monkeys.

The probes interpret signals from individual nerve cells in the motor cortex.

Given that even the smallest of movements involve thousands of nerve signals too numerous to track, the scientists used a gadget to work out the most important signals.

The computer algorithm averages out the dominant signals to obtain the overall movement picture, which they called the "population vector".

Human trails

The algorithm then sends this dominant movement message to the robotic arm, which carries out the actions the monkey intended to perform with its own limbs.

The monkeys in the experiment were able to grasp and hold food with the robotic arm while their real arms were restrained.

"We can use the population vector to accurately predict the velocity and direction of normal arm movement," said Dr Schwartz.

"It moves much like your own arm would move," he added.

Dr Schwartz said his team was working to develop a prosthesis with realistic hand and finger movements.

But he explained it would be a much bigger challenge to recreate more complex movements, such as those of the human hand.

"Our biggest problem is durability of the probes. Typically they last for about six months."

With time, tissue growth over the probes could interfere with their transmission, he said.

Schwartz' team hopes to overcome this problem and begin testing in humans within the next four years.

Source Credits: BBC Newws | Health.
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kz
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IMHO

Postby kz » 20 Feb 2005, 10:40

IMHO: I have seen several several of these technologies being developed, you catch them on tv sometimes, on the net, but as far as the application goes, its so limited or only the privileged can afford it.

Most of the time you'll see it being implemented in the first world countries only and the masses in the third world barely get a glimpe of hope for such technology chaging their lives.

Maybe the next step should be to adapt these technologies to the thrid world countries and make them more economically feasible. Maybe then more people will benefit from such inventions.

Just My Two Cents..and I stand to be corrected!
berry75

Violation

Postby berry75 » 07 Dec 2005, 12:31

Yas wrote:IMHO: I have seen several several of these technologies being developed, you catch them on tv sometimes, on the net, but as far as the application goes, its so limited or only the privileged can afford it.


Sorry but that would be a TOS violation if i have ever seen one in my life.

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