Georgia Tech’s New Prosthetic Arm Enables Amputees to Control Each Individual Finger
When Jason Barnes was electrocuted in 2012, doctors were forced to amputate his arm from the elbow down. As a musician, the loss of his right arm must have certainly traumatized and saddened beyond any simple repair.
Despite the amputation of his arm, Barnes still had the muscles required to control his fingers. Working together with other Georgia Tech professors – Minoru Shinohara, Chris Fink, and Levent Degertekin — they attached an ultrasound probe to Barnes’ everyday prosthetic arm.
As explained by Georgia Tech, the muscles movements seen when Barnes tries to move his amputated ring finger are different from those seen when he tries to move any other finger. Using this information, Weinberg and his team fed the unique muscle movements for each finger into an algorithm that’s able to determine which finger Barnes wants to move. Used in combination, the ultrasound signals and machine learning can detect the movements of each finger, as well as how much force he wants to use.
Now, 5 years later, he’s able to play the piano again…”
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