Össur has announced the creation of the first commercially available bionic prosthetic legs for lower limbs that can be controlled by thought.
“Mind-controlled bionic prosthetic legs are a remarkable clinical breakthrough in next-generation bionic technology,” Jon Sigurðsson, president and CEO of Össur, said in a press release. “By adapting not only to the individual’s intentional movements, but to intuitive actions, we are closer than ever to creating prosthetics that are truly integrated with their user.”
The prostheses are powered by implanted tiny myoelectric sensors (IMES) surgically placed in the user’s residual muscle tissue. The IMES, which were provided by the Alfred Mann Foundation, contain a receiver allowing the sensors to trigger desired movements continuously and in real-time, according to the release.
“The technology allows the user’s experience with their prosthesis to become more intuitive and integrative,” Thorvaldur Ingvarsson, MD, PhD, an orthopedic surgeon heading-up Össur’s research and development team, and the leader of the mind-controlled prosthetics project, said in the release. “The result is the instantaneous physical movement of the prosthesis however the amputee intended. They no longer need to think about their movements because their unconscious reflexes are automatically converted into myoelectric impulses that control their bionic prosthesis.”
The IMES can be connected to any of Össur’s bionic prostheses.
The technology was tested on two amputees who have lived with mind-controlled bionic prostheses for over a year. Clinical trials will continue, according to Ingvarsson.