Controlling a prosthesis with the brain is possible thanks to this implant

The control of your prosthesis by thought becomes more and more a reality every day thanks to new implants which manage to amplify the nerve signals and this, thanks to the algorithms of the automated learning.

Researchers have succeeded in giving people with disabilities the opportunity to control their prosthesis with their brains , without having to undergo an operation that is too invasive or too expensive. The key to this breakthrough, the results of which are published this week in  Science Translational Medicine ,  lies in the amplification of nerve signals through machine learning . By giving disabled people the ability to control their prosthesis with their brains , science would restore access to many of the capabilities lost by subjects and thereby improve their quality of life.

When playing Pierre-Papier-Ciseaux becomes possible

Although this has been at the heart of long research for several years, most of the solutions found are very invasive, since the peripheral nerves capable of delivering the necessary signals from the spinal cord and the brain are too thin. To minimize this obstacle, scientists at the University of Michigan Engineering  (United States) have created an implant that amplifies these signals so that they can reach the artificial limb.

By increasing the strength of these signals, scientists can then train algorithms to convert them into movements in real time. This process immediately worked for four patients. They were able to ”  successfully control a hand prosthesis in real time for 300 days without having to recalibrate the algorithm “. Each finger could be actuated independently to be able to grasp small everyday objects and even to play Pierre-Papier-Ciseaux (Shifumi).

Although this small study was conducted on people with a hand amputation, it demonstrates the potential of such an advance for better control of the movements of people with other parts of the body.