If you've watched the movie "The Men Who Stare at Goats," you'd know it's all about covert efforts by the military to develop mind control. Well, good luck to them. However, it may be a bit premature to write off mind control as so much paranormal "X-File"-ish diddle-dee-doo, considering that Germany-based Otto Bock HealthCare has just done the seemingly impossible with a mind-controlled robotic arm.
The limb in question is attached to 21-year-old Christian Kandlbauer, an Austrian man who lost both his arms four years ago after being electrocuted by a whopping 20,000 volts.
The prosthetic, which took an equal number of years to develop, works in tandem with a new technique called targeted muscle reinnervation, in which surgically transplanted nerves prompt electrical impulses from the brain to reach electrodes on the surface of the chest. This communication then gets interpreted by a micro-computer into actual movement.
The result is nothing short of amazing since this means prosthetic limbs in the future will be able to respond in real time to whatever you're thinking, just like the real deal. As proof of the arm's capabilities, Kandlbauer has been field-testing the system by driving around in a car with his mind-controlled left "arm" (his right is fitted with a conventional prosthetic). The feat makes him possibly the world's first person in such a unique situation.
The good news is the technology is more than ready to leave the labs for commercial use. The bad news is such a procedure will cost a pretty penny. Then again, what price independence when it's your limb on the line?
Home security smackdown: Which rechargeable camera wins?
We found our favorite rechargeable security camera. Find out if it's the Logi Circle, the Canary Flex or the Netgear Arlo Pro.
by Megan Wollerton
Samsung to reveal why Note 7 failed, Meitu pushes back on data-collection criticism
The world will finally hear from Samsung on why the Galaxy Note 7 was prone to catching fire. Also, the trendy anime photo app Meitu defends itself over questionable data-collection coding, and Amazon creates virtual Dash buttons for one-click reordering.