Watch, as this amputee controls a robotic arm using, well, his nervous system. And don’t forget about the Luke Arm.
Researchers at Case Western Reserve University used a flat interface nerve electrode (FINE) to demonstrate direct sensory feedback. By interfacing with residual nerves in the patient’s partial limb, some sense of touch by the fingers is restored. Other existing prosthetic limb control systems rely solely on visual feedback. Unlike visual feedback, direct sensory feedback allows patients to move a hand without keeping their eyes on it—enabling simple tasks, like rummaging through a bag for small items, not possible with today’s prosthetics. The Case Western Reserve University video shows how direct sensory feedback makes some tasks easier. Case Western also received funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Rehabilitation Research and Development Service at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The FINE is one of many different types of nerve interfaces developed under the RE-NET program.