Wednesday May 03, 2017

Bionic Hand that Sees What it Needs to Grab

Ghazal Ghazaei at Newcastle University, UK, is part of a team developing a prosthetic hand that is equipped with a camera which lets it better guess the wearer's intentions. Current controllable artificial limbs work by interpreting electrical signals from muscles and take a while to master. The new design has a mind of its own and is able to recognize an object and adjust its grip accordingly. Future challenges include streamlining the design, such as hiding the camera inside the palm and improving accuracy, which is just under 90% for the two amputees already using the experimental tech.

"We would show the computer a picture of, for example, a stick," explained Ghazal Ghazaei, the lead author behind the research, which was published today in the Journal of Neural Engineering. "But not just one picture, many images of the same stick from different angles and orientations, even in different light and against different backgrounds and eventually the computer learns what grasp it needs to pick that stick up.

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