Three men get bionic hands controlled by mind
Three men who lost the ability to use their hands because of nerve damage have become the first people to receive bionic hands that they're able to control using transplanted nerve tissue.
Researchers at the University of Vienna in Austria created a new technique by transplanting nerve and muscle tissue from each man’s leg to amplify remaining nerve signals in the arm and use them to control a prosthetic hand. Each of the men still had their human hands, but because of nerve damage, they had no control of them.
The men spent around nine months doing cognitive training so they could learn to reactivate muscles in the injured arm and practiced controlling a virtual hand on a computer or a prosthetic hand attached to them. Once researchers deemed the nerve signals were strong enough to control a virtual or prosthetic hand, they amputated the men's useless hands and replaced them with bionic ones.
Within three months, all three men, according to the study published in The Lancet, scored better on multiple tests of hand function and had lower scores on tests of disability.
The scientists believe this technique shows promise for people living with all kinds of nerve damage.