Johns Hopkins group enables bilateral shoulder amputee to control prosthetic limbs [VIDEO]
This is another example of how hardware and pattern recognition software can come together to improve outcomes for patients. Funded by DARPA to target veteran amputees, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab provided bilateral shoulder amputee Les Baugh with a custom prosthetic suit/limbs, and then used software to learn how his nerve endings responded to specific tasks.
Whereas most prosthetic limbs are able to respond to nerves in the upper arm/legs, this one appears to be the first to respond to nerves in the shoulder (i.e. first to help shoulder-level amputees). Importantly, the Johns Hopkins team performed surgery on Les' shoulder to reconfigure the nerves there. Once the surgery was complete, the goal was to use software to train the prosthetic suit to respond independently to Les' mind/nerves.
Remarkably, on each side, Les is now able to complete a total of 30 degrees of motion for his shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand (3 degrees of freedom vs. full 27 degrees of freedom for healthy human limb). Truly groundbreaking work that can form the basis of helping amputees regain full motion and mobility via prosthetics...