A significant breakthrough in the field of medical technology is set to return sensation and motor function to amputees, thanks to advanced nerve attachments and robotics.
Developed by a large European team, the technology is hailed as the first to successfully provide real-time sensory information to the user. This can mean using the technology without having to give conscious thought is now a reality. With more dexterous bionic units, it’s likely little functionality will be lost for accident victims in the near future.
Over time, integration with other technologies will further improve bionic units, making the technologies a necessity for accident victims.
Augmented reality could play a big role in the use of these new technologies, being worn in order to better control the movements of hands and provide system information. If the battery of a bionic hand or leg is worn down, the AR technology could alert users immediately.
Following the human use trial, the team is moving on to new areas of rehabilitation – specifically for those with spinal cord injuries. If the nerve control technology can be used to allow people to feel again, it’s likely it can be applied to spinal damage.
“We know that spinal cord stimulation is safe, we know that training is good, so we want to start the first trial in people who can move their legs but cannot walk independently,” Gregoire Courtine, a spinal cord researcher involved with the project, told the Daily Mail.
“We will implant five patients, we have a new technology which allows us to stimulate the spinal cord of humans just like we do in the rats.”
The field of robotics continues to advance, thanks to improvements to the motor and computing technologies.