New Bionic Arms Replicate Natural Reflexes

People have dealt with inadequate prosthetics for generations. The research group at the Laboratory for Bionic Integration is trying to change that.

Their facility at the Cleveland Clinic has developed a futuristic bionic arm that reminds many of what they saw in Star Wars when Luke Skywalker needed a replacement. The robot touch system delivers individual finger sensations through a neural interface to make it feel like a real arm is there.

The technology is so impressive that researchers have recently replicated natural reflexes with their bionic arms.

The Device Sends Information to and From the Brain

Powerful robots about the size of a matchbox send thoughts into action with the new bionic arms. At the same time, it simultaneously tells the sensations that the brain expects from each interaction.

Although several teams are working on similar technology, the Cleveland Clinic group appears to be the first that can test several metrics to indicate natural arm replication.

We rely on our natural reflexes for many tasks, ranging from having a cup of coffee to gripping a banister to prevent a fall. They’re thoughtless actions that are part of the daily routine until the option to use them disappears.

Amputees may find that a return to some version of normalcy is in the near future with the new bionic

Researchers found that both subjects who tested the device immediately reverted to their reflexive behaviors. That included natural eye movements and intuitive grip. 

Although there isn’t a timetable to bring the bionic arms to the marketplace, plans are in place to fast-track the devices to rehab clinics. The goal is to make them cheaper than the current products people are using today.