author_name|Jon Fingas language|en-US provider_name|Engadget region|US site|engadget Technology & Electronics

Brain-machine interface helps paralyzed man feed himself using robotic arms

People with arm paralysis can easily feed themselves in the future. Researchers led by Johns Hopkins University developed A new technique that allows a partially paralyzed man to feed himself using robotic arms connected via a brain-machine interface. Arms equipped with forks and knives only had to make small movements with their fists on certain commands (like “Choose a cutout”) to cut food and bring it to the mouth. According to the researchers, he could eat dessert in 90 seconds.

The new method focuses on a common control system that minimizes the amount of mental input required to complete a task. It could pair four degrees of freedom of movement (two for each hand) with up to 12 degrees of freedom to control robotic arms. The limbs’ instant-based intelligent responses also reduced the workload.

Technology is still young. The scientists want to add touch-like sensory feedback rather than relying solely on visuals. They also hope to increase accuracy and efficiency while reducing the need for visual verification. But in the long run, the team is seeing robotic arms like this one restore complex movements and give people with disabilities more independence.

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