News24

'Bionic limb' a reality

2006-07-04 14:26

London - British scientists have developed the technology that enables artificial limbs to be directly attached to a human skeleton, press reports said on Monday.

The concept of growing skin tissue around metal, a staple of science fiction films such as Terminator, was realised by researchers at University College London.

It allows the artificial limb to breach the skin without risk of infection.

According to the Times, the breakthrough was reached after a detailed study of the way skin seals around deers' antlers.

It paves the way for significant advances in the technology of artificial limbs, including the use of bionic limbs controlled robotically by nerve impulses.

Early trials of the technology are being carried out on a group of patients, including two people who lost arms in the London bombings of July 7 last year.

The procedure allows prosthetic arms, legs, thumbs and fingers to be attached directly to the human skeleton using metal implants that protrude through the skin.

With the tissue able to seal round the metal link, it is hoped that the longer-term problem of the implant becoming a site of serious infection will finally be overcome.

The work will be published in the Journal of Anatomy. - Sapa-dpa