Brain Controlled Prosthetics

Sofge, Eric. “Brain Controlled Bionic Legs are Finally Here.” Popular Science, 20 May 2015, Accessed 19 Oct. 2016

In this article, the author goes into great detail to explain the new technology that allows patients to control their prosthesis with their thoughts. Olafsson is one of the first people to receive the new prosthetic as part of a trial. The author points out that the surgery behind this new technology is rather uninvasive and easy to accomplish, it only takes about fifteen minutes. Small receptors are inserted into the muscle above the prosthesis, these connect to synapses from the brain that allow the prosthesis to move immediately after the patient sends the command. Another benefit is found in the use of a small sensor in the prosthetic. The sensor allows for the redistribution of weight between prosthetic leg and biological leg. Olafsson says that this is a huge benefit to people who are used to wearing basic prosthetics. The sensor technology improves his stride and allows him to favor both legs equally instead of depending mostly on his biological leg. The technology isn’t just allowing patients to control the movement of their prosthetic, it is also allowing patients to build up muscle that hasn’t been used before. Because of the improved use of muscles, researchers and users are hoping that the sensor controlled prosthetic will avoid the deterioration of muscle mass.

The author of this article rights in an incredibly technical style. However, it is still easily understood for an uneducated reader. He focuses on relating the technology being utilized to the physical outcomes for the patient. Each example of technology is followed by an anecdote by Olafsson. However, because the technology is so new, there was only a few patients to choose from in order to conduct the interview. Although the prosthetic greatly benefitted, Olafsson, there is a possibility that it will fail to be as successful after the initial trial.

This article really shows how far biomedical research and technology has come. Researchers are finding ways to connect neurological advances to mechanical advances to make it possible to improve the lives of thousands of people requiring prosthesis. I think that this article would make an interesting addition to my paper because it allows me to show the broad spectrum of prosthesis technology that has been used over the course of time. In the past, prosthesis was invented because soldiers would lose limbs during battle and they would need replacements to be able to return to battle. Now, we are focusing on improving life for those who suffer from physical disability.

By deeming the new sensor controlled prosthetic bionic, we are beginning to look at how far technology can go. This new prosthetic could basically be considered a robot because it functions mainly off of sensor and transmitter readings. In popular culture, we tend to question the reliability and trustworthiness of such advanced technology.

Read the article here: Brain Controlled Bionic Legs are Finally Here




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