Controlling prosthetic arms through mind is not a dream for a Colorado man anymore. It has become a reality.
Les Baugh, 40 years back, had an electrical accident in which he lost both his arms. He was lucky enough that the researchers from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) worked together to give him Modular Prosthetic Limbs which he himself can control with his own nerves. To move these prosthetic arms, all he needs to do is think about it in his mind and the arms would move accordingly.
This Modular Prosthetic Limbs are not attached to him permanently. Instead, Baugh has to wear some sort of socket that helps in connecting the prosthetic limb to the body. It was measured by the researchers how the muscles on getting stimulated by the nerves reacted on the thought of being moved by Baugh’s mind. It was seen that on the thought of him moving his arms as well as hands in a particular way, the artificial arms and hands actually moved.
According to the researchers, Baugh, in the current era is the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee who can wear two Modular Prosthetic Limbs at the same time. His time is now being spent on practicing varying tasks.
Baugh, in one of his interviews said, “Maybe I’ll be able to — for once — be able to put change in a pop machine and get the pop out of it.” He also said that, “Simple things like that that most people never think of.” He is only allowed to put on the arms in the laboratory until now. He however, is hopeful that someday he would own these two.
The program manager at Johns Hopkins’ Revolutionizing Prosthetics Mike McLoughlin says, “I think we’re just getting started at this point. It’s like the early days of the Internet,” He also said, “There’s just a tremendous amount of potential ahead of us, and we just started down this road. I think the next five, 10 years are going to bring some really phenomenal advancements.”