Risk
5/17/2012
12:23 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Robotic Arm Holds Promise For Paralyzed Soldiers

The Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs are involved in new research that demonstrates how an advanced prosthetic arm can be controlled by the human brain.

Defense Tech: 20 War-Fighting Innovations
Military Transformers: 20 Innovative Defense Technologies
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Researchers have demonstrated that tetraplegics, people unable to use their limbs, can control a robotic arm via neuro signals conveyed by a microelectrode array implanted in the brain. The scientific advance holds promise for people who are paralyzed or otherwise seriously injured, including wounded soldiers.

The results of this latest research into robotic arm control were reported in the scientific journal Nature. Two study participants were able to control a prosthetic limb to reach and grasp. One used the arm to take a sip of coffee from a bottle with a straw.

The report's authors are affiliated with a half dozen medical research centers, including the Department of Veterans Affairs' Rehabilitation Research and Development Service. The research was partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The VA and the Department of Defense are investing in the research and development of brain-controlled prosthetics because war-related amputations have reached the highest level in 10 years. Last year, 240 deployed troops lost an arm or leg, or multiple limbs, according Stars & Stripes, citing Pentagon data. Many of the injuries were the result of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

DARPA established its Revolutionizing Prosthetics program in 2006 with a goal of creating advanced mechanical arms and control systems and exploring the viability of using the brain to control the arms. Last October, DARPA reported that a volunteer who had been left paralyzed by a motorcycle accident had successfully done that.

According to DARPA, some of the capabilities developed under the Revolutionizing Prosthetics program have been applied to small robotic systems used for manipulating IEDs.

The DARPA program also led to the development of a robotic arm by DEKA, one of the contractors in the program. The internal control framework of the DEKA arm was used in the study described in the article in Nature. Last month, DEKA sought approval from the Food and Drug Administration to make its prosthetic arm commercially available.

Hacktivist and cybercriminal threats concern IT teams most, our first Federal Government Cybersecurity Survey reveals. Here's how they're fighting back. Also in the new, all-digital Top Federal IT Threats issue of InformqtionWeek Government: Why federal efforts to cut IT costs don't go far enough, and how the State Department is enhancing security. (Free registration required.)

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-2886
Published: 2014-09-18
GKSu 2.0.2, when sudo-mode is not enabled, uses " (double quote) characters in a gksu-run-helper argument, which allows attackers to execute arbitrary commands in certain situations involving an untrusted substring within this argument, as demonstrated by an untrusted filename encountered during ins...

CVE-2014-4352
Published: 2014-09-18
Address Book in Apple iOS before 8 relies on the hardware UID for its encryption key, which makes it easier for physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by obtaining this UID.

CVE-2014-4353
Published: 2014-09-18
Race condition in iMessage in Apple iOS before 8 allows attackers to obtain sensitive information by leveraging the presence of an attachment after the deletion of its parent (1) iMessage or (2) MMS.

CVE-2014-4354
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 enables Bluetooth during all upgrade actions, which makes it easier for remote attackers to bypass intended access restrictions via a Bluetooth session.

CVE-2014-4356
Published: 2014-09-18
Apple iOS before 8 does not follow the intended configuration setting for text-message preview on the lock screen, which allows physically proximate attackers to obtain sensitive information by reading this screen.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio