Concept: Researchers from Cleveland Clinic have developed a bionic arm for patients with upper-limb amputation. It allows the wearer to think, behave, and function like a person without amputation.
Nature of Disruption: The bionic arm system developed has three main functions – the intuitive feeling of opening and closing of the hand, intuitive motor control, and touch and grip kinesthesia. It has three sensory and motor functions in a neural-machine interface unanimously in the prosthetic arm. The neural-machine interface is connected with the wearer’s limb nerves. This helps the patient to send nerve impulses from the brain to the prosthetic as per the wearer’s requirement. It also enables to receive of physical information from the environment to relay it back to the brain through nerves. The bionic arm has bi-directional feedback and control enables the wearer to perform tasks as well as non-disabled people. It is based on target motor reinnervation where patients can move their limbs just by thinking. The reinnervated muscle communicates with a computerized bionic arm to move in the same way. Moreover, it vibrates the kinesthetic sensory receptors in the same muscles to help the wearer feel that their hand and arm are moving.
Outlook: The targeted sensory reinnervation has small robots that activate the receptors while touching the skin. It enables the patient to perceive the sensation of the touch. Researchers from Cleveland Clinic have focused on targeted motor reinnervation also that enables amputees to move the bionic arm how they think. It gives them the liberty to behave naturally. The researchers have found the connection between the different brain behaviors of people with and without upper limb prosthetics.