Woman operates robotic arm using thoughts

London, Dec 17 (IANS) A quadriplegic woman (paralysed from the neck down) can operate a robotic arm using her thoughts alone.

Jan Scheuermann, 52, diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder 13 years ago, smiled after weeks of training enabled her to carry out simple tasks with her hand.

The training was aimed at achieving skills in nine tasks such as gripping and moving small objects, stacking cones and bumping a ball so that it rolled outside a loose coil of wire.

Experts say she has been able to operate the robotic arm with a level of control and fluidity never seen before in such technology, the Telegraph reports.

Andrew Schwartz, professor of neurobiology at Pittsburgh University, US, said: "We were blown away by how fast she was able to acquire her skill. That was completely unexpected. At the end of a good day, when she was making these beautiful movements, she was ecstatic."

It is being hailed as a remarkable step forward for prosthetics controlled directly by the brain. Other systems have already allowed paralysed patients to type or write in freehand simply by thinking about the letters they want.

Matches