TT: Revolutionary Prosthetics

In this edition of Tech Thursday, I submit to you this excerpt from an article titled
Winner: The Revolution Will Be Prosthetized:

It’s October at Duke University, in Durham, N.C., and Jonathan Kuniholm (pictured above) is playing ”air guitar hero,” a variation on Guitar Hero , the Nintendo Wii game that lets you try to keep up with real musicians using a vaguely guitarlike controller. But the engineer is playing without a guitar. More to the point, he’s playing without his right hand, having lost it in Iraq in 2005. Instead he works the controller by contracting the muscles in his forearm, creating electrical impulses that electrodes then feed into the game. After about an hour he beats the high score set by Robert Armiger, a two-armed Johns Hopkins University engineer who modified Guitar Hero to train amputees to use their new prostheses.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is pouring at least US $71.2 million into the program in the hope that it will let amputees do what most people take for granted: make gestures, test the water in a teacup, turn a key, even peel the shell off an egg. Words like bionic and thought -controlled have been thrown at the project, but they don’t do justice to the sheer ordinariness of its purpose. DARPA isn’t looking for a superstrong ”Six Million Dollar Man” arm; it just wants an arm that moves exactly like a real one does.
Pretty amazing stuff.. makes me glad for our wounded veterans.


  1. I think CNN had a special on the new prosthetics - arm and leg. It's the first improvement of the arm since WWII. There have been more recent leg developments but the ones they demostrated were motorized and each leg communicated wirelessly with the other so that they stayed synchronized. A man demonstrating the arm picked a grape without crushing or dropping it and put it in his mouth. He hadn't fed himself like that in 30 years.

    This is terrific work!

  2. I saw that guy pick up that grape in a 60 minutes piece.. very terrific work indeed.

  3. Oops! If you saw it on 60 minutes then so did I! I can't even remember how bad my memory is!


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