Bionic Arm Can Move, Feel
"What we do is use the nerves that are still left. Although the arm is lost," he says.
Nerves from the amputated arm are attached to the remaining muscle, either in the chest or in the bicep. Nerves that control flexing the hand or closing it are attached in different locations.
Electrodes placed on the muscles act as antennas and when the brain sends an electrical nerve impulse to these antennas, the electrode activates the prosthetic arm or hand to move accordingly.
"It gives you the freedom of mobility back. Trying to do some things with one hand is kind of difficult," he says. "If you can imagine opening a jar of peanut butter or maybe some jelly or spreading it on toast, something as simple as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s very hard to scoop something out and spread it with one hand."
"If you touch that newly re-innervated skin, the patient feels as if you’re touching their missing hand," says Kuiken. "They can feel light touch down to one gram of force. They can feel hot and cold, normal thermal thresholds, but they feel it in their missing hand."
According to Kuiken, prosthetics technology is at the point where we're likely to see a growing number of advanced artificial limbs that will help amputees lead normal lives.
Article and video from VOA