Northern Kentucky University (NKU) has successfully developed a mind-controlled prosthetic arm using cutting-edge 3D printing and brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. Spearheaded by Assistant Professor Mahdi Yazdanpour and his interdisciplinary team, this project aims to revolutionize the lives of arm amputees.
The NKU team’s prosthetic arm stands out for its noninvasive approach, eliminating the need for surgical procedures or sensor implants commonly required by other robotic arms. Instead of electromyography (EMG) systems, they utilize electroencephalography (EEG) systems, allowing users to control the bionic arm simply by thinking about specific movements.
The user wears an EEG cap connected to a computer, capturing and coding brain signals. Once the system learns these signals, the user can effortlessly command the prosthetic arm’s movements in real-time.
Notably, the NKU team envisions a future where mind-controlled prosthetics seamlessly integrate into daily life. Their goal is to incorporate sensors into everyday items, such as hats, to capture EEG signals wirelessly through WiFi, eliminating the need for a physical connection. This advancement could potentially transform the way users interact with their prosthetic limbs.
Looking ahead, the team is committed to expanding the functionality of their design. The next phase involves integrating pressure and heat sensors on the fingertips, providing users with tactile feedback. This development holds promise for creating a more immersive and responsive prosthetic experience.
As the NKU team seeks additional funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to propel their research forward, they remain dedicated to refining and advancing their mind-controlled prosthetic hand. The progress made in this project demonstrates the potential for BCI technology to reshape the landscape of prosthetics, offering a glimpse into a future where individuals with limb differences can experience enhanced mobility and control.
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