• Question: is it possible that we might have brain-controlled prosthetic limbs?

    Asked by grourke4s2i to Sophie, Shruti, Kath, Iulia on 22 Jul 2019.
    • Photo: Shruti Turner

      Shruti Turner answered on 18 Jul 2019:


      Yes, it is. There are several research groups who are looking into how to make brain controlled prosthetic limbs more effective. As you can imagine, it’s quite complicated but I think we are getting there with it. Though they are very expensive, and not widely available just yet.

      Something that is (I think) having more success at the moment, is muscle controlled prosthetic limbs. So the limb gets a signal from the muscles as to how to move and when, sort of like real limbs. These are I guess controlled by the brain via the muscle too.

      From what I know, these options are still being researched and tested, but lots of progress is being made. It’s quite a complicated process as often further surgery is required, and that’s not suitable for everyone.

    • Photo: Sophie Louth

      Sophie Louth answered on 18 Jul 2019:


      Yes! It is already happening! Here is an article about a very early version that is being tested https://futurism.com/mind-controlled-robotic-arm-johnny-matheny

      We already have prosthetics that use the muscles higher up the limb to control the prosthetic and others that use the nerve signals (the signals that the brain sends to the muscles) to control them. We are just starting to use the brain to control prosthetics more directly.

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