For years, the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab has been creating amazing prosthetic limbs that are so sophisticated that they can be controlled by the human brain.
Les Baugh, who lost both his arms in an accident in the 1970s, is now the first person to have two of these mind-controlled prosthetic arms. Wait, mind-controlled prosthetics!? You read it right — “By reassigning existing nerves, we can make it possible for people who have had upper-arm amputations to control their prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action they want to perform,” Hopkins trauma surgeon Albert Chi explained to the Hopkins Hub. “We use pattern recognition algorithms to identify individual muscles that are contracting, how well they communicate with each other, and their amplitude and frequency. We take that information and translate that into actual movements within a prosthetic.”
For his part, Baugh is getting used to his brand-new arms. He says he’s most excited about “simple things that most people don’t think of. And it’s re-available to me.”