Brain controlled bionic legs are finally here
BRAIN-CONTROLLED BIONIC LEGS ARE FINALLY HERE
Prosthetics-maker Ossur company develops brain control legs.
The Proprio is essentially a wearable robot, with algorithms and sensors that automatically adjust the angle of the foot during different points in its wearer's stride. Olafsson's ankle moved on autopilot.
But 14 months ago Ossur upgraded his hardware. Now, at age 48, Olafsson can move his right ankle by thinking about it. When the electrical impulse from his brain reaches the base of his leg, a pair of sensors embedded in his muscle tissue connects the neural dots, and wirelessly transmit that signal to the Proprio Foot. Since the command reaches the foot before the wearer's residual muscles actually contract, there's no unnatural lag between intention and action.
This is a bigger breakthrough in the field of robotics and advanced prosthetics than it might appear. Brain-controlled bionic limbs make headlines on a regular basis, with the implication that the science has been solved, and experimental systems are already transitioning to products. But most of those devices are confined to laboratories, and many require complex surgery, such as transplanting muscle tissue or implanting electrodes in a subject's brain. These devices look like the real thing in brief, sometimes compelling video clips. But so far, prosthetics that respond to thoughts are not so much a reality as a promise.
Another thing that differentiates this mind-controlled prosthesis is its simplicity. The sensors, which were provided to Ossur by the Alfred Mann Foundation, don't have to be attached to specific nerves.
One major advantage of sensor-control, says Olafsson, is the way it redistributes your weight. When climbing stairs or hills, or even standing up from a chair, he typically favored his "sound leg. If Olafsson moves his calf muscles, the robotic foot follows suit. "It's really surreal," he says. "But the biggest benefit he's seen is a surprising one. "You have to learn how to use those muscles again," says Olafsson.
Source:- www.Xprize.com (Prepared by science and technology information center)