Amputees could use the power of their minds to control new AI robotic arms, research shows.
A team of scientists has developed prosthetic technology that allows humans to control robotic arms using their brain impulses.
The University of Minnesota research team 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 really think about moving a finger,” said researcher Jules Anh Tuan Nguyen.
“They’re trying to activate the muscles in their arms because the system is reading that.”
Current technology forces amputees to use the remaining muscles in their arms to move their prostheses.
Sophisticated models can use sensors to detect small muscle movements, but most 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 people normally rely on to move their arms, as both current options have a steep learning curve.
“It’s a lot more intuitive than any commercial system out there,” Nguyen said.
“Because our technology interprets the nerve signal directly, it knows the patient’s intention.
“If you want to move a finger, all you 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 two received funding from the U.S. government and have conducted several successful clinical trials, SciTechDaily said.
At the moment their technology relies on wires passing through the skin and connected to an external AI interface.
However, they are working on an implantable chip that could connect to a computer remotely.
This could allow people to control their prosthetic limbs 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.
“In the last three or four years, I’ve had the privilege of working with several human patients.
“I can get very emotional if I can help them move their finger or help them do something they didn’t think was possible before.”
https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5580230/amputees-control-artificial-intelligence-limbs-mind-power/ New AI limbs allow amputees to control robotic arms with the power of their minds