There’s been a lot of news lately surrounding the story of a woman who was able to use her thoughts to control a robotic arm. Researchers implanted a small electrode chip (the size of aspirin) in her brain which relayed her thoughts of movement to the robotic arm. Ultimately, the robotic arm mimicked the motion that the lady thought about. When you think about it, it’s pretty remarkable that scientists have been able to develop this type of technology. It will only get more efficient as time moves on.
When I first read about this story, I immediately thought of the research I participated in at the VA hospital in late 2010. The ultimate goal of the project was to develop a prosthetic device that individuals could wear on their arms, allowing them to control its movement with their thoughts. I’m not sure where this research stands today, but reading stories like the aforementioned one certainly help lend credibility to the project. Similarly, a week ago I was at MetroHealth Hospital acting as a guinea pig, so that research could be collected, analyzed and submitted for a grant which would also incorporate the use of prosthetic robotic devices.
It’s great to read about and see these type of devices come to fruition, however it does not replace the want of restoring natural function to my own arms. There is no substitute for this. But until that day arrives, any technology that can be leveraged to assist with the tasks one’s own arms, hands and fingers would otherwise do can only help.
I am very confident this type of assistance will be available in the very near future. After all, I read about a company this morning (Mars-One) that insists it will have people living on the red planet by 2023.
Finally, my alma mater recently featured my story in its latest issue of the Lehigh Bulletin. You can read it by clicking on the PDF link below:
One last item of note – a few weeks ago, I mentioned that a pair of pants I had dropped off at the dry cleaners a couple days before my accident were still waiting for me to pick them up. I found out this morning that they were donated to charity since I didn’t make it in to pick them up last week. A good reminder that one day will be the last day, so don’t put off the important things you need to do.
Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support! Stand Strong!