FEB 28, 2018 6:37 AM PST

Making Brain-Controlled Limbs Faster, Lighter, Stronger


In patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury, sometimes the only way to regain the use of the arms and hands is to use an exoskeleton prosthetic. These gadgets that affix to the affected arm have to be designed to be lightweight as well as very precise, in order to be able to sense and respond to picking up small objects, dressing, using food utensils and other activities. Many of the devices can be networked to the brain, via a computer interface so that the brain can send electrical impulses to the damaged limb and control the movements.

The specific parts that allow these artificial limbs to work are called actuators. They can be bulky, but scientists at EPFL in Switzerland have found a way to put those parts in a box that is worn on the patient's chest. On the hand that the device is powered to assist, there is a lightweight glove and some wires and sensors. This means the wearer can pick up small objects and perform other fine motor tasks. Hopefully, more of this tech can be designed to help patients who have lost the use of a hand or arm.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
JAN 16, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
JAN 16, 2020
High-speed 3D Printer to Revolutionize Manufacturing
Two significant hurdles in front of the fast expansion of three-dimensional (3D) printers are speed and scale.  In a recently published study, a team...
JAN 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 28, 2020
A Slug Does All it Can to Defend Against Hungry Ants
Slugs are slow, and this makes them easy targets for predators however big or small they might be. Here, we see that a slug has been spotted by a hungry co...
FEB 20, 2020
Cardiology
FEB 20, 2020
Most Commonly Birth Defects Affect The Heart
Birth defects are not uncommon. For every 33 babies born in the United States each year, one is born with a defect. That adds up to about 120,000 babies ea...
MAR 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 09, 2020
These Beetles Protect Themselves From Predators by Spraying Acid
At first glance, oogpister and bombardier beetles may look just like any other beetle, but it sports a uniquely interesting capability that helps it evade...
MAR 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 15, 2020
The Incredible Life of a Sea Urchin
From start to finish, a sea urchin’s life involves an incredible and lengthy journey. From the moment a wandering sperm meets an egg somewhere in the...
MAR 19, 2020
Earth & The Environment
MAR 19, 2020
What's the Ocean's Oxygen Budget?
Have you heard the statement, “every other breath you take comes from the ocean?” Oxygen-producing phytoplankton are just one part of the oxyge...
Loading Comments...