Wired News covers the latest from the Biomechatronics Group:
If your vision of the future includes Robocop-like body appendages, several scientists hope to meet you there.
This isn’t a silly cyborg fantasy, but what a group of scientists from Brown University, MIT and the Providence VA Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island, see as the future of artificial limbs — a project they have funded through the next five years via a $7.2 million research grant and an additional amount to build an advanced rehabilitation facility from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The goal is to create artificial “biohybrid” limbs that merge man-made components with human tissue — muscles, skeletal architecture and the neurological system –and work like fully functioning human appendages.
“Basically the challenge of developing a prosthesis is blending it or creating this intimacy between the artificial device and the human,” said Hugh Herr, an MIT assistant professor in the school’s health sciences and technology department and director of the biomechatronics group in its Media Lab.
Herr, himself an amputee, is working on the project by focusing on building “the next generation” of artificial knees and ankles. Other aspects of the biohybrid program will be generally applicable to both arms and legs, he said.
In the picture above, the active ankle-foot orthosis is shown.
More at the Biomechatronics Group…