Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor unveils the future of prosthetics at TED

    Interest in the development of assistive devices, and especially in the technologies on which they rely, has long gone beyond the scope of a single industry. Applied solutions here, based on the latest achievements of science, can excite the minds of every inquisitive person. And often it is the desire to solve a technological problem in the rehabilitation industry that pushes science to the next step into the future.

    The experts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Media Lab) took this step, opening a new page in the field of bionic prosthetics. American researchers have managed to achieve biological feedback from the artificial part of the body, creating a technology that allows a person to feel the prosthesis as a lost limb.

    The biophysicist, MIT professor Hugh Miller Herr, a well-known American developer and at the same time a user of bionic prostheses of the lower extremities, told the general public about this. He previously spoke at the TED conference (technology, entertainment, design), where he announced the achievements of his colleagues working on the NeuroEmbodied Design project.

    According to Hugh Herr, modern bionic prostheses, for all their manufacturability, are devoid of direct dynamic interaction with muscles and feedback from the biological part of the body. This means that the user does not feel the prosthesis like his body, does not feel it, which reduces the quality of use and the effect of rehabilitation.

    To solve this problem, the Hugh Guerra team has developed an agonistic-antagonistic Mioneural interface.(abbr. AMI), which connects the nerves in the remainder of the limb with an external bionic prosthesis and allows you to feel it as a full part of the body. It is this feeling of unity with one’s means of rehabilitation - that is the line that turns a person into a cyborg, the professor is sure.

    During his speech at TED, Hugh Herr introduced the world's first person to have a bionic prosthesis using the new AMI interface and demonstrated the result on video. The mechanical “foot” of the cyborg reacted to the unevenness of the earth and foreign objects. She made it easy to climb and descend the stairs and even rock climbing. But the main thing - a man felt it, felt like his lost limb. According to the world's first cyborg, he perceives a bionic prosthesis based on AMI not as a means of rehabilitation, but as part of himself, as a newfound limb.

    The NeuroEmbodied Design project achievement in itself- a breakthrough in the rehabilitation of people who have lost limbs. Hugh Herr is confident that the solutions and technologies used by his team will allow the end of the 21st century to put an end to disability associated with amputation of limbs.

    In the future, the ability to connect nerve tissues with artificial mechanisms will allow a person not only to replace lost limbs, but also to modernize a completely healthy body, supplement it with non-human parts. For example, the wings that the cyborg will feel like its own congenital limbs and will be able to control them with no less efficiency.

    NeuroEmbodied Design is the future of biophysics and the future of man, says Hugh Herr.

    The focus of TED, known for its annual conferences and the popularization of technology, the rehabilitation industry turned out to be an industry capable of not only helping people with disabilities, but also moving forward all of humanity, developing physics, bionics and other sciences, supplementing our bodies with new functionality and creating cyborgs. So the world is interested in it.

    TED is held annually in the USA. Within its walls, people with unique and promising ideas can give a TED Talk public lecture to convey their thoughts to the whole world. Video recordings of all performances are published on the official website of the event and are available for free viewing and downloading.

    In other countries, including Russia, their own events are held under the TED brand, as part of the TEDx project, licensed by the Americans. It is hoped that domestic developers of rehabilitation tools will more often talk about their achievements on such sites.

    Lecture by Professor Hugh Herr How we'll become cyborgs and extend human potential at TED 2018 . Russian subtitles are available for viewing.

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