You may have read some of my previous postings on prosthetics and how they are being dramatically affected by advancements in 3D scanning and printing. But there is so much more benefits that prosthetics are providing for many other advancements and in particular the ability to control them directly with the brain, as outlined in the article below.
Oh, and when it comes to prosthetics I’ve noticed that many assume that this only applies to military personnel and casualties of the atrocities of war, but these are actually a small minority of the need and use of prosthetics and other areas such as accidents and birth defects account for many more. Whatever the cause the future of prosthetics is looking brighter than ever and how great is it that these advancements can not only bring such transformative change to those in need but can also provide additional benefits for the rest of us as well.
This whole area of enabling direct connections between the brain and external devices from prosthetics to eyes to computer interfaces is going through some remarkable advancements and I’m convinced they will be the source of many spin off advantages for an even wider array of applications. As the article outlines, there is still some major challenges to overcome but this initiative and funding by DARPA focused on finding solutions is promising. Prosthetics and brain control are definitely worth watching for more glimpses of the premature arrival of the future and answers to my ongoing quest to have us all change our assumptions and to be planning and wondering around the question of “What if the impossible isn’t?”
- As the use of prosthetic limbs increases in military veterans, the Pentagon is investigating prostheses that are more durable, reliable and directly controlled using brain implants.
DARPA, the military’s research arm, said it will launch the next phase of its decade-old Revolutionizing Prostheticsprogram, which had an original goal to create a fully-functioning, neurally-controlled human limb within five years.
Though the agency has made considerable progress — human trials of the DEKA Arm are underway, and a neurally-controlled arm is under development at Johns Hopkins University — it hasn’t yet achieved its goal.