French researchers at CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique ), Aix-Marseille University, and Sorbonne University have managed to teach a prosthetic arm to decode and replicate the movements of an amputee’s phantom limb.
Most people who lose a limb still feel its presence and can “move” it long after amputation. These phantom limbs are often a problem for patients, making it difficult to adjust to prostheses. But the French researchers decided to take advantage of this phenomenon and use it to drive a powered prosthetic arm.
The team noted that even upper arm amputees demonstrated muscle activity near the stump when moving fingers on their phantom hands. This seemed to indicate that the body immediately reconfigured what the associated nerves do, instead of completely ceasing their activity. The researches recorded and carefully interpreted the electrical activity of the remaining muscles when the patients moved their phantom arms and hands and used this data to control a robotic hand.
The technology doesn’t require any implants, nor does it require much practice by patients, as all they have to do is keep doing what is natural and intuitive to them.
At this link you can see an amputee moving a robotic hand and grabbing an object.
Study in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology: Phantom-Mobility-Based Prosthesis Control in Transhumeral Amputees Without Surgical Reinnervation…