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Saturday, March 5, 2016

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Moves Individual ‘Fingers'



Closer to Enabling Piano Playing
Physicians and biomedical engineers from Johns Hopkins report what they believe is the first successful effort to wiggle fingers individually and independently of each other using a mind-controlled artificial “arm” to control the movement.
The proof-of-concept feat, described online this week in the Journal of Neural Engineering, represents a potential advance in technologies to restore refined hand function to those who have lost arms to injury or disease, the researchers say. The young man on whom the experiment was performed was not missing an arm or hand, but he was outfitted with a device that essentially took advantage of a brain-mapping procedure to bypass control of his own arm and hand.
“We believe this is the first time a person using a mind-controlled prosthesis has immediately performed individual digit movements without extensive training,” says senior author Nathan Crone, M.D., professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “This technology goes beyond available prostheses, in which the artificial digits, or fingers, moved as a single unit to make a grabbing motion, like one used to grip a tennis ball.
For the experiment, the research team recruited a young man with epilepsy already scheduled to undergo brain mapping at The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit to pinpoint the origin of his seizures.