MIT and and Shanghai Jiao Tong University engineers have created an inflatable prosthetic arm, which is much cheaper than similar heavy metal prostheses. The neuroprosthetic inflatable hand can use residual muscle signals to perform the motions that the user is thinking about. In this amazing prosthesis, the role of the electric motor is performed by air pressure.
Usually, limb neuroprostheses are quite heavy because they are made of metals. Such prostheses cost more than $10,000. But the MIT inflatable arm is light, soft and costs only $500. Thus, this innovative affordable prosthetic can help many amputees who cannot afford expensive prostheses.
The device allows to perform four different grip types: pinching two and three fingers together, cupping the palm, making a balled-up fist. This is not a final product yet, but it’s performance is already similar or superior to existing neuroprosthetics.
Also, tactile feedback is built into the inflatable mind-controlled prosthesis so that the user can feel the objects he grasps. Engineers have equipped pressure sensors on each fingertip that produce electrical signals so that the user can feel the pressure on the finger and respond accordingly.
Research team: Guoying Gu, Ningbin Zhang, Haipeng Xu, Shaoting Lin, Yang Yu, Guohong Chai, Lisen Ge, Houle Yang, Qiwen Shao, Xinjun Sheng, Xiangyang Zhu, Xuanhe Zhao.