Humane Machines

Jesse Sullivan is better known as the world's first bionic man. In 2001, the American electrician was accidentally electrocuted. Both his arms had to be amputated at the shoulder. But about two months later, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) gave him what was then one of its prototypes: a bionic arm. So Sullivan could hug his grandkids, hold a cup of water and drink from it, mow his lawn, and perform several such activities that many use their arms for everyday, without even thinking about it.

Todd Kuiken, director of RIC's Center for Bionic Medicine, who had pioneered the bionic arm that Sullivan uses today, explained to ET how it works. "We take the remaining nerves in an amputee and transfer these to the muscles that are still present. This allows us to get information on what the person 'wants' to do with the robotic arm," says Kuiken. In a neural surgery, four of Sullivan's nerves were dissected from his shoulder and transferred to the muscles in his chest. The grafted nerve endings could consequently then transfer impulses to muscles that are actually present --rather than to the amputated muscles, it was originally meant for -- thereby allowing Sullivan to move his robotic arm attachment just like his real arm......Read More


Source: The Hindu

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