Image description: This brain-controlled modular prosthetic limb (MPL) is controlled by surface electrodes, which pick up electric signals generated by the muscles underneath the skin. The electrodes then convert those patterns into a robotic function.
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, along with the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Labratory and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), developed the limb for military veterans who lost limbs in action.
The arm is the first to be created and has the same dexterity as a natural arm, including independent movement of the fingers.
On January 24, 2012, Air Force Tech Sgt. Joe Delauriers was the first patient to use the MPL. Delauriers was injured in an IED blast in Afghanistan where he lost both his legs and part of his left arm. With the help of the MPL, Delauriers is able to live off base, drive a car and hold his infant son without worrying about infections.
Amputees go through training before being fitted for the MPL. The training records muscle movements and collects data before the MPL is fitted.
Those involved in the program are hopeful about the future of the MPL and creating more limbs for those in the military and hopefully eventually for the public.
Image from the U.S. Navy.