“That's the novel aspect to this study, seeing that chronic, long-term amputees can learn to control a robotic limb,” said Nicho Hatsopoulos, PhD, professor of organismal biology and anatomy at UChicago and senior author of the study. “But what was also interesting was the brain’s plasticity over long-term exposure, and seeing what happened to the connectivity of the network as they learned to control the device.”
Here's the basic setup in a similar lab with non-amputee monkeys. The monkey gets juice or some other treat for successfully completing the tasks.
Here's a detailed lecture on the current work in the field:
31-year-old amputee Zac Vawter made medical history Sunday, climbing 103 stories of the Willis Tower with a state-of-the-art bionic leg controlled by electrical impulses from the muscles in his upper leg, including a rewired hamstring. He finished the climb in 45 minutes. More at the Chicago Trib, and CNN. Read the rest
A 26-year-old man in Austria who lost the use of his right hand in a motorcycle accident ten years ago has decided to undergo "elective amputation," after which he will be fitted with a bionic hand controlled by nerve signals from his own arm. German prosthetics company Otto Bock makes the bionic hands; BBC News reports the prosthetics can "pinch and grasp in response to signals from the brain that are picked up by two sensors placed over the skin above nerves in the forearm."
This will be the second such surgery performed by Professor Oskar Aszmann, of Vienna.
A 24-year-old Austrian man named Patrick was the first patient in the world to choose to have his hand amputated, again by Professor Aszmann, and a bionic replacement fitted. He lost the use of his left hand after being electrocuted at work.More here, and there's video of the bionic hand in use by Patrick, here.