Posts Tagged ‘Prosthetics’

Mind Over Matter: Monkey Feeds Itself Using Its Brain

May 28, 2008

A monkey has successfully fed itself with fluid, well-controlled movements of a human-like robotic arm by using only signals from its brain, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine report in the journal Nature. This significant advance could benefit development of prosthetics for people with spinal cord injuries and those with “locked-in” conditions such as Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

“Our immediate goal is to make a prosthetic device for people with total paralysis,” said Andrew Schwartz, Ph.D., senior author and professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Ultimately, our goal is to better understand brain complexity.”

Previously, work has focused on using brain-machine interfaces to control cursor movements displayed on a computer screen. Monkeys in the Schwartz lab have been trained to command cursor movements with the power of their thoughts.

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The world’s first bionic sea creature: Winter the dolphin gets a prosthetic tail

May 8, 2008

Two years ago Winter was the dolphin that could not swim.

Instead of powering through the water with a flick of her tail, the bottlenose could barely waggle from side to side.

She had lost her tail in a crab trap at just two months old and was found floating in distress off the coast of Florida.

Rescuers got her to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida where staff fought to save her life.

Winter survived but there was a problem … where her tail should have been there was only a stump.

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A Rescued Goat Gets a Chance for a Normal Life

May 2, 2008

They are both amputees: She lost part of her right leg to bone cancer at the age of 10, and he lost part of his left leg four months ago because of an injury he most likely suffered at a Brooklyn slaughterhouse.

Her name is Jenny Brown, and she is a 36-year-old television producer turned animal rights advocate. His name is Albie, and he is a goat of unknown age and breed.

They met last August, after Albie was plucked from Prospect Park and taken to the animal sanctuary Ms. Brown has owned here since 2004. Albie was malnourished and sickly at the time, his mouth covered in sores, his leg and hoof badly infected, Ms. Brown recalled. His injuries seemed to indicate that he had been hogtied before he broke free and made his way to the park.

Ms. Brown said that she tried to save Albie’s leg, treating it with ointments and homeopathic remedies, but that the wound would not heal. In December, Albie’s leg was amputated just above the knee.

He is now awaiting a prosthesis, a very rare indulgence for a farm animal. And the same technician who fitted Ms. Brown with a new artificial leg is also designing Albie’s.

“I’ve been an amputee for most of my life, but I can run a farm, I can wrestle animals, I can carry bales of hay, thanks to modern prosthetics,” Ms. Brown said. “I thought it would be only fair to give Albie the same chance to live a normal life.”

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