Mind-controlled robotic arm allows quadriplegic woman to make complex hand motions

A quadriplegic woman who was fitted with a neurological grid that can connect to a computer in 2012 has reached new progress with the recent ability to give a “thumbs up” by maneuvering a prosthetic arm with her mind.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh began working with Jan Scheuerman 2 years ago using a brain-machine interface and have recently shown that Scheuerman can move the robotic arm in 10 different dimensions. Scheuerman also is able to use her mind to give high fives and feed herself chocolate with the prosthesis.

“10D control allowed Jan to interact with objects in different ways, just as people use their hands to pick up objects depending on their shapes and what they intend to do with them,” Jennifer Collinger, PhD, co-author of the study, stated in a press release. “We hope to repeat this level of control with additional participants and make the system more robust, so that people who might benefit from it will one day be able to use brain-machine interfaces in daily life.”

She added, “We also plan to study whether the incorporation of sensory feedback, such as the touch and feel of an object, can improve neuroprosthetic control.”

For more information:

Collinger J. J Neural Eng. 2015; doi:10.1088/1741-2560/12/1/016011.

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