Swedish Researchers Implant Bionic Arm For The First Time
An operation has been conducted, at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, where electrodes have been permanently implanted in nerves and muscles of an amputee to directly control an arm prosthesis for the first time. The result allows natural control of an advanced robotic prosthesis, similarly to the motions of a natural limb.
During the operation Dr Rickard Brånemark, permanently implanted neuromuscular electrodes in an amputee. The operation was possible thanks to new advanced technology developed by Max Ortiz Catalan, supervised by Rickard Brånemark at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Bo Håkansson at Chalmers University of Technology.
“The new technology is a major breakthrough that has many advantages over current technology, which provides very limited functionality to patients with missing limbs,” says Brånemark. (via 33rd Square | Swedish Researchers Implant Bionic Arm For The First Time)
Designer Bodies - the capabilities of 3d printing (or additive manufacturing) are reshaping entire industries. With the application of that concept to biology, the vision of designer bodies is becoming increasingly plausible. And while our current culture may obsess over the typical movie star physique, more creative minds are conjuring up not only entirely new physiques, but also advanced capabilities. Are “body by Chanel” or “performance by bodysport” in our new term future?
Need blue skin, four arms, or a tail? Want to augment and extend what you already have? Valkyrie Ice is here to help you become your own avatar. Does this idea sound too weird or far fetched? The basic technology already exists to print out custom organs, augment the body with its own cells, and much more.
Earlier in the year there was a bit of coverage in the mainstream media about breast re-construction and augmentation with stem cells when popular TV actress Suzanne Somers underwent the procedure. Using 3D printing and related bio-constructive techniques it is already possible to design and build custom organs and other body parts. For example Anthony Atala’s talk at TED describes various methods for constructing, and printing out, human tissues, organs and other replacement parts. Many of these methods are using a persons’ own cells as a starting point so they do not carry some of the risks of prior surgical and transplant methods. Custom designed bodies and replacement parts for aesthetic appearances are entirely possible using these same exact technologies and tools.
The brain-computer interface goes wireless
A team of neuroengineers at Brown University has developed a fully implantable and rechargeable wireless brain sensor capable of relaying real-time broadband signals from up to 100 neurons in freely moving subjects. Several copies of the novel low-power device, described in the open-access Journal of Neural Engineering, have been performing well in animal models for more than year, a first in the brain-computer interface field. Brain-computer interfaces could help people with severe paralysis control devices with their thoughts. Neuroscientists can use such a device to observe, record, and analyze the signals emitted by scores of neurons in particular parts of the animal model’s brain. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are used to assess the feasibility of people with severe paralysis being able to move assistive devices like robotic arms or computer cursors by thinking about moving their arms and hands. (via The brain-computer interface goes wireless | KurzweilAI)
At the beginning of this report’s section, I suggested that there is a continuum from a fully human animal to a cybernetic organism to a fully robotic machine. This spectrum is perhaps defined by how many human body parts we replace with mechanical ones, ranging from zero to all. Enhanced warfighters, then, could fall somewhere in the middle of this continuum. If “robot ethics” is different from human ethics, at least where relevant facts about humans and robots differ, then it seems that “cyborg ethics” too would diverge from human ethics where there’s a relevant difference in the construction and abilities between cyborgs and humans. Though not all enhanced persons are cyborgs, e.g., if the enhancements are genetic, pharmacological, or otherwise not robotic, we can also reasonably conclude that ethics for enhanced persons generally may be different from the standard human ethics.
A brain–computer interface (BCI) provides a non-muscular communication channel to people with and without disabilities. BCI devices consist of hardware and software. BCI hardware records signals from the brain, either invasively or non-invasively, using a series of device components. BCI software then translates these signals into device output commands and provides feedback.
(Current trends in hardware and software for brain–computer interfaces (BCIs). P Brunner, L Bianchi, C Guger, F Cincotti, and G Schalk).
Working with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), researchers from DARPA’s LS3 program demonstrated new advances in the robot’s control, stability and maneuverability, including “Leader Follow” decision making, enhanced roll recovery, exact foot placement over rough terrain, the ability to maneuver in an urban environment, and verbal command capability.
“We’ve found the silver bullet that could make things like electronic clothing and inexpensive games a reality today. This breakthrough means the industry now has the capability to print electronics on a wider range of materials and at a lower cost,”