Mind-controlled prosthetic arm that snaps on to the bone

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/25/mind-controlled-prosthetic-arm.html


Myoelectric sensors in a bracelet worn on the upper arm measure muscle signals that are transmitted to the prosthetic arm via Bluetooth

This seems a bit strange to me. The bracelet isn’t too far from the artificial appendage, wouldn’t it be more secure and lag free to wire one directly to the other after the appendage has been placed onto the person?


the patient “clicks” the prosthesis onto a metal rod in the bone.

Medical Science, is amazing.


I thought it had been at least several decades since someone first made a prosthetic that could receive signals from nerve endings in a stump (and thus be qualified as “mind-controlled”). Have I been misinformed…?

I guess the skeletal connection is new, though the potential for infection seems ghastly.


Ok my immediate reaction was “AAAAAAAAAAH!!!” at the phrase “snaps on the bone”.

But now I can’t help wondering how you avoid infection with this sort of connection.


I imagine wound-care procedures would help prevent infection to some degree. Lots of people have permanent stomas and treat the openings like a wound for the rest of their lives.

But yeah, an infection involving a bone would be nightmare material.

Myoelectric-signal prosthetics were around in the late 80s, if memory serves. Lots of work on the sensors in the 60s, and first workable versions some time in mid-70s. This is half-century-old technology.

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Take away the potential for hacking into the prosthetic? Where is your sense of adventure?!

I played Deus Ex, i know how that story ends :stuck_out_tongue:

Apparently those have been around since at least the 1970s, and the contemporary approach developed in the 1990s.

Yeah, my brain felt like it physically started trying to back away from my eyes when I read "Through an opening in the skin, the patient “clicks” the prosthesis onto a metal rod in the bone."
Reading further, it sounds like the bone is encouraged to grow over the metal rod’s rough surface, the skin grows over, then later on another rod is attached to the existing one through opening the wound. The prosthesis then attaches to that protrusion.
But still, not happy with there being a metal rod passing through skin. Surely that would just be a permanently open wound?

I don’t know how literal the bone connection is here. Titanium readily fuses to bone, so I would guess that a metal receptacle could be fit to the stump to prevent actual wear or exposure of the bone.

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