Groundbreaking research conducted at RIC has found a way of controlling an artificial leg via brain. Researchers have come up with first of its own kind bionic, mind controlled leg, taking bionics to the next level. This advancement in medical field is still in its testing phase. Although, mind controlled bionic arm has already been available to amputees so far.
As per Zac Vawter, 32, who in a bike accident lost his leg 4 years back says, there’s nothing special that he had to learn like giving some tugs or commands as is the case with some robots. He simply gets up and his limb co-operates with him in a default manner.
Lead author Levi Hargrove, a biomedical engineer and research scientist at RIC says,
It allows people to seamlessly transition between walking along level ground and going up and down stairs and slopes.
Along with the mechanical sensors, the bionic leg has two motors, intricate software, a set of electrodes with antennae for picking up electrical signals from the upper leg muscles for synchronization with brain.
Until now, the inclination of prosthetic legs was more towards mechanics in the sense that the mechanical sensors were used to detect the weight of the individual and the knee position. Aim was to assist people in walking but the movement was more robotic than natural unlike the present one. But this new bionic leg is more refined in terms of ascending and descending the stairs. This leg also helps in easily repositioning leg while sitting without manually removing it.
As mentioned before, it is still in the testing phase but very soon, it will come to the rescue of elderly patients and people who have lost their legs and restoring them with full ability.