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Bionic armed woman regains sense of touch

Darren Murph
02.04.07
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Although Matsushita and Activelink have rolled out a rehabilitating robotic suit aimed at giving handicapped individuals their ability to maneuver their own body parts once again, it appears that Claudia Mitchell has regained her sense of movement using a slightly different apparatus. Touted as wearing the "world's first" bionic arm controlled by thought alone, she now has the ability to carry out simple, albeit quite critical tasks again such as cutting up food. Doctors have re-routed the nerve endings in her arm to "a patch of skin on her chest," essentially enabling her prosthetic arm to respond to her thoughts concerning movement. Furthermore, a recent study of her wrist, hand, and elbow functions revealed that she could perform tasks "four times quicker than with a conventional prosthesis," and the team hopes to install "touch sensors" on the artificial hand in order to allow for tactile feedback in the future. Claudia seems to be understandably thrilled with the results thus far, as it even allows her to accomplish tasks such as putting on makeup and feeding herself -- but we're slightly disappointed that she apparently hasn't given a round of Wii Sports a go to build up those oh-so-crucial hand-eye coordination skills, but we're sure that challenge is just around the bend.

[Via Digg]

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