Mind-controlled robotic hand developed

2016-12-07 16:52

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Will robots displace unskilled labour?

2015-03-18 13:51

CEO of Treeshake, Dave Duarte, joins us in studio and tell us how he thinks the future of robotics will pan out.WATCH

Berlin - Scientists have developed a mind-controlled robotic hand that allows people with certain types of spinal injuries to perform everyday tasks such as using a fork or drinking from a cup.

The low-cost device was tested in Spain on six people with quadriplegia affecting their ability to grasp or manipulate objects.

By wearing a cap that measures electric brain activity and eye movement the users were able to send signals to a tablet computer that controlled the glove-like device attached to their hand.

Participants in the small-scale study were able to perform daily activities better with the robotic hand than without, according to results published on Tuesday in the journalScience Robotics.

The principle of using brain-controlled robotic aids to assist people with quadriplegia isn't new. But many existing systems require implants, which can cause health problems, or use wet gel to transmit signals from the scalp to the electrodes. The gel needs to be washed out of the user's hair afterwards, making it impractical in daily life.

"The participants, who had previously expressed difficulty in performing everyday tasks without assistance, rated the system as reliable and practical, and did not indicate any discomfort during or after use," the researchers said.

It took participants just 10 minutes to learn how to use the system before they were able to carry out tasks such as picking up potato chips or signing a document.

According to Surjo R Soekadar, a neuroscientist at the University Hospital Tuebingen in Germany and lead author of the study, participants represented typical people with high spinal cord injuries, meaning they were able to move their shoulders but not their fingers.

There were some limitations to the system, though. Users had to have sufficient function in their shoulder and arm to reach out with the robotic hand. And mounting the system required another person's help.

Jan Schwab, an expert on spinal cord injury at Berlin's Charite hospital who wasn't involved in the research, called it an interesting pilot study that needs to be followed up with further clinical tests.

"Bigger studies will be very important to find out which patients respond well, less well or not at all," Schwab said.

Soekadar said the system could be brought to market within two years at a cost of between €5 000 and 10 000, depending on functionality.

The device could also be used to help re-train the brain of stroke patients undergoing rehabilitation, he said.

Read more on:    germany  |  research  |  robotics

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Perfect dog-walking 1: Why dogs pull on the lead

Some dogs go mad the minute they see the leash, drag their owner out the door and once outside start spinning, leaping about and pulling their humans off their feet.

 
 

Paws

SA stats: The role of pets in families
The top 6 poisonous foods for your pet
Does your dog have separation anxiety?
Fascinating facts about dogs
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.