When your body is healthy, your brain sends signals to your limbs to make them move as required. It’s automatic and something most people never think about.
If you lose a limb in a workplace accident, it’s something you will have to think about. That is one of the major weaknesses of prosthetic replacements – controlling them does not come automatically. You need to twitch your muscles in a particular sequence to get your replacement limb to move the way you want.
Artificial intelligence could change that
Scientists have developed a system where they can insert an electrode into a person’s limb to receive the nerve signals that the brain sends. They then use artificial intelligence (AI) to interpret those signals and instruct the prosthetic limb on what to do.
They claim to have achieved a 99.2% success rate when trialling it with people who have lost an arm. The system relies on a person having the opposite arm working. They put a date glove on the working hand, and this captures the nerve signals that the brain uses to instruct the arm to do certain movements. The AI system can use that information to learn to interpret what the brain is trying to tell the other arm to do.
How good is it?
At present, the system is slower than a natural arm, and some movements are still difficult to achieve. Yet anything that helps regain mobility could be a massive plus for those who lose a limb.
Technology like this will not come cheap. That is why it is crucial to understand how to get maximum compensation if you suffer an amputation injury at work.