Researchers from the University of Michigan unveiled a new bionic hand prosthesis called Mobius Bionics LUKE. It is controlled by a “neural interface” that reads electrical signals from remaining nerves. Patients use only the power of thought to move artificial fingers and hands.

“We have developed a method of individual control of prosthetic devices by using the nerves in the residual limb of the patient. With her help, we created one of the most advanced prosthetic ever seen the world”, — said the head of scientific group Professor Paul Cederna (Paul Cederna).

the Developers explain: to provide the most accurate reproduction of movements it was necessary to curb “temperamental” nerve endings. This thick nerve bundles had to be split into smaller fibers, which provide more precise control and amplify signals through these nerves.

In the new approach, the researchers used machine learning algorithms derived from the interface “brain-computer”, as well as the tiny muscle grafts (flap muscle).

the trial Participant tries to undo the zipper with a new prosthesis.Photo By Evan Dougherty, Michigan Engineering.

the Team conducted a “clinical trial” four prostheses Mobius Bionics LUKE.

Muscle grafts wrapped around nerve endings in the hands of the participants. As experts explain, this approach has prevented the growth of tumors, known as neuromas. Because of them, patients may experience phantom pain.

But most importantly, these muscle grafts amplify the incoming signals, speaking something of a megaphone.

during the test, two patients in the muscle grafts were implanted with electrodes that capture signals from nerves, and transmit the artificial arm in real time.

“We registered the highest stress, compared with all previous results, that I know of. In the previous approaches, you could get 5 or 50 microvolts microvolts is a very, very weak signals. We saw the first ever millivolt signals,” said study co-author biomedical engineer Cindy Chestek (Cindy Chestek).

According to scientists, to manage the new hand, the volunteers were able on the first try, without prior training. The participants was just thinking about a particular action (i.e. send the signal from the brain) and committed it.

during the tests, they are, for example, collecting the pyramid of cubes, lifted objects of spherical shape and even played a game of “rock, scissors, paper”.

After 300 days, the participants maintained the same degree of control as in the start of the test. During this time no amendments and precalibrated “neural interface” is not required.

One of the volunteers, Joe Hamilton (Joe Hamilton), who lost his arm in 2013, said that due to the prosthesis can perform almost all the same manipulations of this hand.

“[Feeling] like I have my hand. This allows you to once again feel normal,” — shared his impressions of Hamilton.

Clinical trials of new prostheses continue. Now researchers are looking for new volunteers.

In the future the engineers intend to create a prosthesis that could restore the ability of people who have lost their hands.

Article with a detailed description of the innovative developments presented in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Previously “Conduct.Science” ( talked about how wireless implants for the first time allowed a one-armed patient to control the prosthesis, and the prosthesis, a La “the hand of Luke Skywalker” with ultrasonic sensors.

Text: News.Science