Tuesday, 13 March 2007
We've had the mechanics for good prostheses worked out for some time. The motors, the materials., the control circuitry. What we haven't had is the link from the upstream nerves: we haven't decoded the complex multichannel AM/FM and chemical broadcast that conveys the information down the limb to, say, wiggle the toes. Or just the big toe. (Try wiggling just a middle toe - odds are you can't).
It's still in the labs - but as I blogged in January, less than a decade away.
Anyway, as the above film demonstrates, Drexel University's Engineer of the year Dean Kamen and his team have done it.
The next step is to perfect the feedback - so there is more than just crude feeling too. That's coming.