Brain-controlled robotic hand allows quadriplegia patients to perform everyday tasks
Researchers have achieved breakthrough in development of a non-invasive, brain-controlled robotic hand that can regain ability to perform daily tasks for quadriplegia patients. The entire set-up is like an exoskeleton consisting of a robotic hand and a cap-like headgear that read brain signals and eye movement of the wearer. The best part is that it doesn’t require surgical implantation or any sort of wet gel to work. The exoskeleton was successfully tested in Spain on various subjects.
Use of robotics (mind-machine interfaces) is changing the life of people suffering with several types of disabilities. Among these, patients with quadriplegia or spinal injuries, which doesn’t allow them to perform action of griping material objects like pencils, fork, soda can, and so on. With current prosthetics, there were risks of developing infection, allergy, or other health issues as they mostly require implants.
The participants, who had previously expressed difficulty in performing everyday tasks without assistance, rated the system as reliable and practical, and did not indicate any discomfort during or after use,
The researchers said.
Surjo R. Soekadar, a neuroscientist at the University Hospital Tuebingen in Germany, the lead author of the study published in the journal of Science Robotics said that the robotic hand was tested on six different people with spinal injuries, who were not able to grab objects like normal people. It took just 10 minutes for the subjects to get familiar with the set-up and they were able to lift fork, potato chips, soft-drink can, paper, pencils etc.
The only limitation, which the scientists faced so far, is that user must possess sufficient function in their shoulder and arm to reach out with the robotic hand. Also, in order to mount the system, the user requires external assistance from second person.
Scientists expect this technology to be available in markets in couple of years. The estimated cost would be between 5,000 euros and 10,00 euros.
Via: Phys Org