The human mind is an excellent feature of God’s creation. Only with our mind, our body parts are controlled and made to do certain activities. Thus, when a person is brain dead, he cannot move his body or lift his arms and legs. The mind is the main thing needed to make the whole body function more effectively. Now, according to the new research study, the human mind can control robot arms. Robot arms are fitted to persons who have lost theirs in an accident or through some other means. For those who are disabled, just a mere robot arm which does actions only when a button is pressed doesn’t help. To make a more efficient and effective robot arm, scientists have created a robot arm that can be controlled by the person’s mind. The mind is used now though to control robot arms.
The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago introduced the first woman to be fitted with robot arms or bionic arm technology. This woman met with an accident, and her left arm was amputated from the shoulder. She has now been fixed with a robot arm with which she can now think and make the arm do the things she wants to do. She can now pull the drawer by thinking grab drawer and pull. This has been proved, and it has opened the gate for those without limbs, a great joy in moving their arms with their minds. This procedure includes both surgical and technological process that makes it all amazing and possible.
The robot arm or the bionic arm technology is probably only because of two important conditions. First, the amputated arm should have the signal coming from the brain’s motor cortex even if the voluntary muscles cannot control it. Second, the doctors who amputate the limb should not remove the nerves that control the brain’s signal to the limb. So when the person’s arm is amputated, the nerves that carry signal from the brain are not dead. The person can still think of using the arm to lift things; only the arm is not present. These nerves can be directed to the working muscle group and make them do what the mind thinks. The brain sends signals to the nerves which should communicate with the hand and obey the commands.
Re-directing the nerves is not an easy task. Dr Todd Kuiken developed a procedure called ‘targeted muscle reinnervation’ that does the hand’s work. To do those, the surgeon cut open the shoulder to find the nerve endings that control the arms, wrist, and joints’ actions. Without spoiling the nerves, the control is re-routed to the working muscle group. In case of fitting robot arms, the nerve endings are re-directed to the chest muscles. The nerves will take some months to get acquainted with the new environment and get fully integrated.
To use the signals from the brain’s motor cortex, the scientists from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago have placed electrodes on the surface of the chest. These electrodes control the arm by receiving signals from the brain. Thus the person wearing the robot arm can make it function in all possible movements.