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The moment paralysed woman served herself first cup of coffee in 15 years

Dailymail: For the first time in almost 15 years, stroke victim Cathy Hutchinson has sipped her morning coffee without help from a carer.
The precious moment came about thanks to a robotic arm that she controls with her own thoughts.

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AgentWhite3418d ago

what an awesome moment .....short of words to describe.

Blackdeath_6633418d ago

i feel really happy when people are actualy using technology to benfit people that need it. also huge respect to that woman she can be a massive help in refining that tech for it to be widely used.

Lord_Sloth3418d ago

That's awesome! 1 more step towards me being Ninja Raiden!

gaden_malak3418d ago

Amazing, the only downside is not being able to judge how hard she should grab it.

I wonder if this could work in reverse. The implant in her brain intercepts the thoughts to pick up the coffee.

For example, lets say the cup was hot, could there be a way for her to feel the sensation of it being hot by it being transmitted from the robotic hand to the brain?

My thought goes along the lines of blind people being able to see again.


There's actually two ways to do that.

The most common is indirect. The robotic prothesis may have a termometer of some sort, which can either show the actual temperature in a visor somewhere or "raise a flag" (blink a led, sound a beep, vibrate a little, etc) indicating it's over certain temperature (usually what would be considered too hot). It can also simply transmit the same temperature to another area that's still functional, but this tech needs improving as any delay could cause harm if someone get's something to hot to drink for example.

The other way requires to actually have that termal signal converted into electrical signal of pre-determined current that goes into an electrode to stimulate the corresponding area of the brain.

This is easier said than done, there is some devices in development that can feel pressure like human skin. Google robotic skin and you'll find out that the solutions are fairly low tech and pretty functional when it come to the robotics, but when trying to apply that to a human protesis it becames the problem as of right now, there is no correct way to stimulate the brain.

Any neurosurgeon can stimulate the brain with electrical current. The problem is when we want to leave it up to a machine to do that. Firstly, because when neurosurgeons do that, usually the pacient has it's head opened while he can carefully manuever metal needle-like electrode that needs to touch the brain in the correct spot (which can be pretty deep), so a machine would need to do that with the skull closed and don't mess with those electrodes or risk damaging the brain. Secondly, although anatomically close, we're all different up there, so it's not practical to simple plan the machine to cause stimuli in one area, as that area may not respond to the same thing in you and me. This is specially problematic when we consider cases like the one in this news, victims of stroke may naturally come to use healthy areas of the brain to work in place of the areas that were affected.

And even if we get the plans right, in the end, the protesis would only work for one person and everything welearn from building it may as well be worth nothing to make the next one. So, as you can guess, there a lot of money restriction to this kind of research too as, right now, there's absolutely no foreview for mass production or application.

So, the tech is pretty much here. But making protesis with feedback practical may take a couple decades more. More integrated robotic protesis will probably came in much sooner.

aDDicteD3414d ago

that's a major breakthrough technology that could help those paralyzed patient's. I'm sure that lady is happy for being to do simple task and no longer be dependent on those simple activities