Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Inventor Of Artificial Hand Sees "Bionic" Replacement Parts Becoming More Human

Date:
February 8, 2002
Source:
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey
Summary:
Bionic limb replacements that look and work exactly like the real thing will likely remain a Hollywood fantasy, but fast advances in human-to-machine communication and miniaturization could bring the technology close within a decade.

NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Bionic limb replacements that look and work exactly like the real thing will likely remain a Hollywood fantasy, but fast advances in human-to-machine communication and miniaturization could bring the technology close within a decade.

That is the outlook of Rutgers biomedical engineer and inventor William Craelius, whose Dextra artificial hand is the first to let a person use existing nerve pathways to control individual computer-driven mechanical fingers. Craelius published an overview of bionics entitled "The Bionic Man - Restoring Mobility," in the international journal "Science," on Feb. 8.

Craelius believes "bionic technologies can be adapted for restoring some degree of almost any lost function," and that if progress continues at its present pace, "human-machine communication could soon lose its distinction as the No. 1 obstacle to bionics."

"Communication is key," Craelius said, "and it is getting easier."

As an example, he described a wireless implant the size of a grain of rice developed at UCLA by a team led by Dr. Gerald Loeb. This can be injected under the skin to provide independent communication between nerves and bionic devices. Craelius said while it may require more than 1,000 connections between the brain and bionic devices to communicate the data for a complex action like walking, it is probably achievable, even if most of the necessary computer processing is done outside the body.

Miniaturization of components will soon bring even that processing inside the body, Craelius said. "The number of transistors we can fit onto an integrated circuit doubles about every 18 months," he said. "At this pace, within the decade, the processing for complex bionic activity will be implantable in the brain or elsewhere in the body."

While scientists are eliminating obstacles to communication and miniaturization of bionics, they still need to devise ways to protect the tiny devices from electromagnetic interference and corrosion from bodily fluids, Craelius said. Battery capacity and recharging are also concerns as the devices handle an increasing number of tasks.

"Finally, users who subject themselves to brain implantation of hundreds of electrodes are not going to want bulky plastic sockets for their new bionic limbs," he said. "Creating a more natural integration between the limb and existing bone is going to be vitally important. A human feel is a crucial part of bionic restoration."

Human feel is an area Craelius is addressing in his own work with Dextra, an artificial hand he developed along with a team of Rutgers students and Nian-Crae, Inc. The prosthesis gives a person who has lost a hand natural control of up to five independent artificial fingers. Controlled by electrical signals generated by the user's remaining muscles and tendons, Dextra has been demonstrated to permit such complex hand activities as typing and piano playing. It has a plastic socket that encases an amputee's upper limb and some of the processing and communication is handled by a device worn outside the body.

"Right now we are miniaturizing the human-machine interface to help make Dextra feel more natural," Craelius said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Inventor Of Artificial Hand Sees "Bionic" Replacement Parts Becoming More Human." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020208080141.htm>.
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. (2002, February 8). Inventor Of Artificial Hand Sees "Bionic" Replacement Parts Becoming More Human. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 3, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020208080141.htm
Rutgers, The State University Of New Jersey. "Inventor Of Artificial Hand Sees "Bionic" Replacement Parts Becoming More Human." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020208080141.htm (accessed September 3, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

Doctors Fear They're Losing Battle Against Ebola

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — As a third American missionary is confirmed to have contracted Ebola in Liberia, doctors on the ground in West Africa fear they're losing the battle against the outbreak. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

Tech Giants Bet on 3D Headsets for Gaming, Healthcare

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — When Facebook acquired the virtual reality hardware developer Oculus VR in March for $2 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg hailed the firm's technology as "a new communication platform." Duration: 02:24 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins