New bionic arm controlled by brain
A patient who had his arm amputated 10 years ago has become the first person to successfully have a prosthetic arm attached directly to his bone, nerves and muscles. His previous prosthetic arm had been controlled using electrodes placed over the skin.
The implant system, created by researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden, uses a titanium implant connected directly to the bone as part of a process called “osseointegration.” Because it's attached to the person's bone, the arm has more stability, and since the electrodes and the nerves controlling the device are in close proximity, there's less interference from other muscles. That allows the person to use the arm with much more control and precision.
According to a report in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the patient has been able to resume all of his normal daily activities, including his job as a truck driver. Researchers note that he also is able to perform tasks that require delicacy, such as unpacking eggs or tying the laces to his kids’ shoes.
The researchers say the case represents a big step forward in developing reliable communication between a person's body and their prosthesis.