Les Baugh, a double amputee who lost his arms about forty years ago, has been given two mechanical bionic arms that he can control just by thinking.
It has been one of man’s dreams to control machines just by thinking, and scientists from Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland have been researching and developing their Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPLs) for more than ten years now. During the summer of last year, they made history when they installed prosthetic limbs that worked simultaneously on Les Baugh.
Les Baugh, who lost both his arms in an accident forty years ago, has become the first person to be fitted with shoulder level amputee wear and use the MPLs at the same time.
Doctors and scientists that were working on the project explained to us that in order for him to control the arms with his brain, Baugh first had to go to undergo a surgical procedure called ‘targeted muscle reinnervation.’ They say it is a new surgical procedure that reassigns nerves that control the arms and hands in the human body. Albert Chi, a trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins, explains that by reassigning existing nerves, we can make it possible for people who have had upper arm amputations to control their prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action they would like to perform.
Furthermore, the research team at Johns Hopkins also recorded all of the patterns that Baugh’s brain made whenever he moved his muscles, so as to utilize the prosthetic appendages. Baugh had to be prepared on how to utilize them, which included utilizing the research center’s complex example distinguished framework which examines the facilitated engagement of muscles and afterwards makes an interpretation of it into guidelines for controlling a prosthetic limb.
As his arms had been cut off from the shoulders, Baugh additionally must be fitted with a custom attachment to unite the prosthetics that then work hand-in-hand with the nerves in his body. After ten days of difficult practice, Baugh had figured out how to move a few items, including moving a can from one rack to a higher one.
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“This task simulated exercises that may regularly be confronted in an everyday environment at home. This was noteworthy on the grounds that this is unrealistic with presently accessible prostheses. He found himself able to do this with just 10 days of preparing, which exhibits the instinctive nature of the control,” said Courtney Moran, an analyst at Johns Hopkins.
“We anticipated that he will surpass execution contrasted with what he may accomplish with customary frameworks, yet the velocity with which he learned movements and the quantity of movements he found himself able to control in such a brief amount of time was a long ways past desire.”
“What truly was astounding, and was an alternate significant development with MPL control, was his capacity to control a blend of movements crosswise over both arms in the meantime. This was a first for synchronous bimanual control.” The group would like to create two MPLs that Baugh will have the capacity to take home and use there.