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This robotic arm with 'eyes' could revolutionize prosthetics

By Chong Jinn Wei - on 7 May 2017, 7:45am

This robotic arm with 'eyes' could revolutionize prosthetics

Researchers from Newcastle University are developing a new prosthetic arm that allows amputees to grab objects automatically and naturally.

The newly developed prosthetic hands will assess the size and shape of an object with its camera before automatically opening its palm to grab it. <br> Image Source: forbes.com

Dubbed as ‘hands with eyes’, the cutting edge prosthetics currently integrate a simple Logitech webcam to ‘see’ objects and assess its size and shape. Following that, the prosthetic hand will automatically adjust its fingers and wrist to accommodate the object for the amputee to simply grab it.

“Responsiveness has been one of the main barriers to artificial limbs. For many amputees, the reference point is their healthy arm or leg, so prosthetics seem slow and cumbersome in comparison. Now, for the first time in a century, we have developed an ‘intuitive’ hand that can react without thinking,” said Dr Kianoush Nazarpour, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Engineering, Newcastle University.

To further their research, the team has been working with the Newcastle Freeman Hospital to provide patients with the prosthetics for further testing and development. In addition, they have also published their findings on the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Current generation hand prosthetics are controlled by myoelectric signals from an amputee’s healthy stump muscles, allowing them to ‘open’ their hands and hold objects.

Source: Forbes