From the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Maryland, designer Michael McLaughlin and his team have created a prosthetic limb that couples to the user's nervous system. The limb, dubbed the Modular Prothetic Limb (MPL), has 22 degrees a freedom, very close to the 30 degrees of the real human arm/hand. Researchers surgically redirected nerves near the arm area where electrodes intercept signals to be used for movement. McLoughlin stated that in one case a patient "was able to use the arm almost from time zero." McLoughlin continues about the dextarity of his prosthetic arm, "It can't do absolutely everything - it can't cup the palm, for example - but it can control all fingers individually. I don't think there is another limb that approaches it... The brain still thinks the arm is there and if you can tap into those signals, you can really achieve something amazing."
This project was sponsored by DARPA's Revolutionizing Prosthetics Program.
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