Paralysed man feeds himself using his mind and smart robotic hands

A partially paralysed man who had been unable to use his fingers for about 30 years was able to feed himself dessert more easily using his mind and some smart robotic hands.

Combining robot autonomy with limited human input, researchers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland decoded the man’s neural signals to control two robotic limbs holding a knife and a fork.

The robotic limbs already understood how to perform some tasks, but this “shared-control approach” meant the man could guide and customise the robotic behaviour by making subtle motions with his fists that affected muscle movement signals from his brain, allowing for the completion of more complex tasks.

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