4 DARPA Bionic Projects That Help Humanity - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
News
4/8/2015
12:06 PM
Joe Stanganelli
Joe Stanganelli
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail

4 DARPA Bionic Projects That Help Humanity

DARPA-funded achievements in prosthetics and "cyborg" implants stand to improve the lives of countless disabled people - and, possibly, open up a whole new world of bionic super-abilities.
2 of 7

Leveraging the Brain's Electronic Functions

Jan Scheuermann is a quadriplegic, having lost the use of her limbs in the late 1990s as a result of spinocerebellar degeneration. In 2012, DARPA-funded researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System implanted two quarter-inch electrode grids into Scheuermann's brain. Within a week, Scheuermann was able to reach with an electronic arm. Within three months, she was able to flex the electronic arm's wrists and conduct more complex movements with it - such as high-fiving researchers and feeding herself chocolate.

'We're hoping this can become a fully implanted, wireless system that people can actually use in their homes without our supervision,' said lead investigator Jennifer Collinger in December 2012. 'It might even be possible to combine brain control with a device that directly stimulates muscles to restore movement of the individual's own limb.'

Indeed, the researchers have been able to improve upon the fluidity of the device's movements. Just a few months ago, Scheuermann was able to use the arm to beat her brother in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

Scheuermann continues to volunteer for other DARPA robotics programs.

(Image: Allan Ajifo via Flickr)

Leveraging the Brain's Electronic Functions

Jan Scheuermann is a quadriplegic, having lost the use of her limbs in the late 1990s as a result of spinocerebellar degeneration. In 2012, DARPA-funded researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System implanted two quarter-inch electrode grids into Scheuermann's brain. Within a week, Scheuermann was able to reach with an electronic arm. Within three months, she was able to flex the electronic arm's wrists and conduct more complex movements with it – such as high-fiving researchers and feeding herself chocolate.

"We're hoping this can become a fully implanted, wireless system that people can actually use in their homes without our supervision," said lead investigator Jennifer Collinger in December 2012. "It might even be possible to combine brain control with a device that directly stimulates muscles to restore movement of the individual’s own limb."

Indeed, the researchers have been able to improve upon the fluidity of the device's movements. Just a few months ago, Scheuermann was able to use the arm to beat her brother in a game of rock-paper-scissors.

Scheuermann continues to volunteer for other DARPA robotics programs.

(Image: Allan Ajifo via Flickr)

2 of 7
Comment  | 
Print  | 
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

News
How CIO Roles Will Change: The Future of Work
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/1/2021
Commentary
A Strategy to Aid Underserved Communities and Fill Tech Jobs
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  7/9/2021
Slideshows
10 Ways AI and ML Are Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/28/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
2021 State of ITOps and SecOps Report
This new report from InformationWeek explores what we've learned over the past year, critical trends around ITOps and SecOps, and where leaders are focusing their time and efforts to support a growing digital economy. Download it today!
Video
Current Issue
Slideshows
Flash Poll