A brain-machine interface and robotic arms to allow a paralyzed person to eat. And that’s just the beginning.

Modern technologies have made incredible advances in the field of medicine. Prostheses, for example, are more effective than ever. All of this is extremely promising. But we still have to make progress on the interfaces homme-machine, and more precisely brain-machine, so that the integration of this kind of products in daily lives can be done easily. This is impressive progress.

A brain-machine interface and robotic arms to allow a paralyzed person to eat

People with arm paralysis may have significantly less difficulty feeding in the future. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins University have developed a new technique that allowed a partially paralyzed man to feed himself using robotic arms linked to him via a brain-machine interface. The man only had to make small movements with his fists at certain times to see the arms equipped with the fork and the knife cut the food and bring it to his mouth. According to the researchers, he was able to eat his dessert in 90 seconds.

This new method evolves around a shared control system that minimizes the need for mental inputs to accomplish a task. The man could take advantage of his four degrees of freedom (two for each hand) to control up to 12 degrees of freedom in his robotic arms. The intelligent response system of the prosthesis has also made it possible to greatly reduce the workload.

And that’s just the beginning

The technology is still very young. Scientists want to add sensory feedback like touch rather than relying exclusively on visual cues. They also hope to improve overall accuracy and efficiency by reducing the need for visual confirmations. In the long term, the team sees such robotic arms restoring complex movements and providing more independence for people with disabilities.

Categorized in: