Friday, June 24, 2005

"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him..."

Amazing news from the medical front:
Bionic Man Moves Artificial Arm With Brain
Breakthrough Could Change Lives Of Amputees, Patients With Spinal Cord Injuries

CHICAGO -- Researchers have developed artificial arms that can be moved as it if they were real limbs, simply by thinking about making them move, according to Local 6 News.

The world's first bionic man, Jesse Sullivan, 54, accidentally touched live wires while working as a utility lineman in Tennessee. He suffered severe burns, causing him to lose his arms.

Now, Sullivan is the first to try out the most sophisticated artificial arms ever designed.

Surgeons attached his arm nerves to healthy muscles in his chest.

"So now when Jess thinks, close hand, the impulse is picked up by a transmitter, and goes to his hand," doctor Todd Kuiken said. "He thinks, closes hand and it does."

Sullivan's hand rotates 360 degrees, according to the report. When Sullivan's brain tells his arm to do something, it's done in seconds and he has feeling in the bionic arm.

"This gives me a lot of hope," Sullivan said. "I was an independent kind of guy. I didn't ask anybody for anything. If I could do it, I did it."

Eventually tiny sensors in the fingertips will allow Sullivan to feel texture and temperature.

Doctors at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago said the breakthrough could change the lives of amputees, patients with spinal cord injuries and stroke victims, according to the report.

By the time it's perfected, the cost of manufacturing the bionic arm is expected to be about $6 million, according to the report...

Click here for more from Local6.com, including video of Mr. Sullivan moving his new arms around.

In recent years there's been some work done on developing an "artificial eye" that can send visual information into the brain's optical area. Last I heard, it's meeting with some success. Now we got this.

Excellent news! But did you notice how much the story said that this rig is going to cost after it's fully developed? There can be no doubt: Jesse Sullivan is...


(sorry, couldn't resist :-)

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