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Your location: Home > Related Articles > Scientists develop futuristic biomimetic arms using micro robots to restore natural reflexes in amputees

Scientists develop futuristic biomimetic arms using micro robots to restore natural reflexes in amputees

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:27

According to foreign media CNET, Luke Skywalker's mechanical prosthetic is not just a fantasy in science fiction novels. Scientists have designed a "bionic arm" that receives help from micro robots to recreate the important feeling lost when losing the upper limb. These robots achieve this goal by safely vibrating the muscles of the amputation site.

According to a 2021 report by Grand View Research, the global market value for prosthetics and orthotics is expected to exceed $8 billion by 2028, but artificial prosthetics have encountered a mechanical obstacle. They cannot truly explain many intuitive feelings that help us in daily life, such as the feeling of opening and closing our hands.

"We are still using technology that reached its peak before and after World War II," explained Paul Marasco, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Lerner Institute of Cleveland Clinic. He is the lead author of a study on new biomimetic arms published on Wednesday in the journal Scientific Robotics.

Although there are several other teams studying biomimetic arms, Marasco stated that his version has several advantages. This sci-fi device converts information directly into the brain through a powerful robot that is only about half the size of a standard matchbox. While transforming "thoughts" into actions, the arms can simultaneously connect with the brain, providing a sensation corresponding to the expected action.

This prosthetic seems to be the first biomimetic arm to simultaneously test multiple indicators that outperform typical prosthetics, indicating that it accurately replicates the mechanical principles of natural arms and is sufficient to restore the unconscious reflexes of amputees who use it. Traditional prosthetics cannot recreate this seamless movement because they operate manually - amputees must keep an eye on them and worry about what non disabled people usually attribute to intuition.

After testing two research subjects and using new analytical tools, the research team was excited to find that the subjects had regained their reflexive behavior before amputation, including intuitive grip strength and natural eye movements - they could move their gaze away from the limbs.

A metal arm requires three components: a rearrangement of nerve endings, a micro robot as a control center, and the biomimetic arm itself.

Firstly, a surgical procedure involves removing unused nerve endings from the healthy portion of the amputee's arm - those previously specifically used for removal. "Your brain is like, 'My fingers are connected to muscles,' it just doesn't know it's the muscle on your shoulder, not the muscle on your forearm," Marasco explained.

The bionic arm is placed at the amputation site, and the micro robot is inserted into the receiving cavity. These robots press on the relevant area of the area, stimulating the nerve endings currently connected when the patient uses the arm.

Marasco said, "You can make their muscles produce these truly interesting things - these perceptual illusions of complex hand movements."

Researchers have modified ready-made prosthetics instead of starting from scratch. They hope to quickly deliver these devices to rehabilitation clinics, making them more cost-effective than traditional prosthetics. People who use less advanced prosthetics often overuse the side of their body that has not been amputated, leading to back or shoulder problems and ultimately requiring expensive medical care.

"These cutting-edge systems are initially expensive to install, but if you use them, they won't harm you because you don't have to account for them," Marasco said. "This will be something that will cost less in the future."

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