In our generation of highly developed technologies, scientists from different spheres are eager to find solutions to various daily problems of mankind. But now we will talk about neuroprosthetics of human hands. Millions of people around the world face abnormalities at birth or loss of a limb due to illnesses, accidents, and so on, followed by the need to amputate that limb. Neuroprosthetics is in great demand, because the lack of limb of the hand brings great discomfort and often this ailment affects people’s lives, for example, choosing a profession, people without a hand cannot go to the work they want, they have limitations in time – to do usual things you have to spend more time on it, extra attention from society – they can avoid you because they might be scary, they can’t do a specific sport that you like, they can’t even take a glass of water. This movement is so easy for us, we don’t really think about it but for people without hand it brings big challenge because not every prostheses can give [image: pasted-image.tiff]fully understanding of location of this glass to its user. Gratefulness to the latest achievements in neuroprosthetics, hand prostheses that can be controlled by electronic impulses emanating from the human brain, people who have faced this problem can get a second chance to return to normal life, which will simplify their life many times over.
The main cause of these problems is that a person who has a prosthesis cannot feel and act the same sensations and actions when they or someone else touch their artificial arm or they take something using their replaced arm, or if you can’t control pressure of your arm properly then you can accidentally crush a glass or make someone’s arm hurts, therefore, neuroscientists are developing effective ways to give people those who have lost their arm feel their prosthetic arm as part of their body, which can also sense objects, hold someone’s hand and feel that touch, live like you don’t have an arm, but your neurotrophic will give you the same opportunities to live normally, to get job you like, to do sport you like without any discomfort.
In order to understand how to make the neuro prosthesis become part of the human body, it is necessary to establish a connection between the human brain and the arm prosthesis, so that the prosthesis perceives the signals of our brain for mechanical actions, also in the opposite direction, signals from the prosthesis the brain, which will talk about temperature, texture, size, and so on, in general about the characteristics of the subject that you want to touch. To achieve these goals, neuroscientists have three different ways to make two-sides connection between the brain and prosthetic arm.
First function named electrical nerves stimulation within a cult. This king of electrical stimulation of prothesis arm most often employed to amputate an arm of patient, since right during the operation, the surgeon can insert micro-electrodes into the remaining nerves in the stump, stimulating them with a small amount of current sufficient to let the patient know that he has touched something. This method (but on a leg there are the same principles) was clearly explained in Herr, Hugh. “How We’ll Become Cyborgs and Extend Human Potential.” TED, www.ted.com/talks/hugh_herr_how_we_ll_become_cyborgs_and_extend_human_potential.by Herr Hugh – MIT(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) professor and his work is to build prothesis. Both of his legs must be amputated due an accident and now he is working on doing prothesis that people can use like a part of their bogy, to feel their legs and etc. And to do this he uses electrical stimulation of nerves in the cult and Herr Hugh explains this method like: “Muscle dynamic interaction causes biological sensors within the muscle tendon to send information through the nerve to the central nervous system.” (6:20-6:29) – from the same source.
Second way to solve this problem is redirection of last nerves to other parts of the body – during surgery, nerves from the patient’s hand are redirected, for example, to the skin on the inside of the shoulder. Researchers at the International University of Florida in Miami are currently working on an implantable device using this technique. Dr. Ajay Seth is an orthopaedic surgeon from that International University explains: “Targeted muscle reinnervation is a type of surgery that helps any amputee use their brain to move their brain to operate e Bionic r prosthetic arm if she wants to open her hand she just thinks “open my hand”(5:07-5-20). Now, the part that’s never been done here, in the US was to try to get someone to feel that prosthetic arm, the targeted sensory reinvention”(5:20-5:31). A learned neurobiologist decided to find a nerve that gives a person the sensation that he receives from his fingers. What he did to us was to take this nerve and attach it to the patient’s skin, on his shoulder. Dr. Ajay Seth was “finding the nerve that gives you feeling and I took that basically attached to her skin here(shows at skin on the shoulder) and the idea is if that nerve gives you feeling here(shows at his finger), the brain will think hat her fingers are actually here(shows skin on the shoulder) (5:38-5:57)”. Scientists attached sensors to the hand that can read mouse patterns and when a person makes these movements with his imaginative hand, a mechanical prosthesis will recognise these signals and execute them. Thus, on a person’s shoulder there are places that correspond to different fingers. When stimulating these places, a person also accurately say which finger it is. Motherboard. “The Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm With a Sense of Touch.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_brnKz_2tI.
And last one is direct impulses towards the brain and vice versa – sensory impulses pass near the spinal cord into the brain, where they produce the sensation that the area from which the signals originate is stimulated. But the thing is that none of these methods will work for people who have suffered a stroke or received spinal cord injuries that cut the nerves from the limbs to the brain. Signals from a hand enter certain parts of the brain, scientists should be able to create sensations of touch of the limb, directly activating the neurones that usually receive these signals and neuroprosthetics doesn’t know which neurones are. Therefore, there are two options to do: to identify and simulate natural signals or to make the brain learn a new set. But no-one knows will these feelings feels like a natural one and scientists can only guess. Bumps and vibrations are still far from the complex sensations that natural arm experience when we close our hand over an apple or move our fingers along the edge of the table. But Douglas Weber, a bioengineer at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania says that “patients don’t need a perfect sense of touch”. According to him, just having enough feedback to improve control over them can help people perform tasks such as raising a glass of water .” Neuroprosthetics.” Neuroprosthetics – an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, www.sciencedirect.com/topics/ neuroscience/neuroprosthetics.
Nowadays neuroprosthetics did very big progress especially at redirection of nerves and this method works and patients actually can fell. For example, Melissa Loomis, because of accident with a racoon it was needed to amputee her right arm she was the first person in the USA who got this king of surgery: targeted sensory reinnervation at “The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory”. After this surgery Melissa has she have areas on her skin by stimulating them she will feel like these are fingers, and she also can say which particular one are they, she can move her prosthetic hand with her own mind, she can feel that she actually got something in her hand which is amazing. Motherboard. “The Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm With a Sense of Touch.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_brnKz_2tI.
But during developing technologies new problems are also develop. For example, there are some ethical factor questions that we might think about: Is there any differences in person’s responsibility with and without prothesis? If person with prothesis is equally guilty or it’s company’s fault or someone else? What if prothesis is broken is this situation extenuating circumstance? And also what about user’s privacy and the need to protect any personal information? Police will have extra work because of people that want to harm to other by using people with prothesis and they can gain control over the movement of human mechanical limbs.
Social factors are also important because the society will have to change itself to ignore the differences between people with prothesis. How will society respond to augmentation technology? People with bionic prostheses are perceived as disabled, full-fledged members of society or a social threat? How will the person himself feel? Inferiority complex, attitude towards oneself as a surrogate of a person, a soulless machine?
Moral factors also will change in a better side, because our society will be more tolerant to the others. Moral will help to solve new problems of technologic development in our world. Moral factors will help us to open new borders in our minds, which will help people with a replaced arm feel themselves normally.
Our time is very progressive and innovative time for all aspects of our life. New technologies allow people to get new arms, arm that you can use and feel like a real one do. Due my research I explained the 3 ways in which science solve the problem of lack of hand, by following them neuroprosthetics can give people a second chance to live, to do what they like, it’s unbelievable, a few years ago mankind can’t even imagine that it’s possible to control the metal arm by using their mind. I believe that neuroprosthetics will become more important and accessible to the general public, which will do it cheaper, because now it is expensive and not develop enough, in future use neuroprosthetics to completely restore all sensations and help patients feel that they again have arms in the best way and this new technologies will have an effect on daily life it will change our way of thinking, will give us bigger opportunities. Who knows, maybe in the near future people will use neuroprosthesis to improve human capabilities and we will have “superheroes”.
- Motherboard. “The Mind-Controlled Bionic Arm With a Sense of Touch.” YouTube, YouTube, 18 Aug. 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_brnKz_2tI.
- Kwok, Roberta. “Neuroprosthetics: Once More, with Feeling.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 8 May 2013, www.nature.com/articles/497176a.
- Velliste, Meel, et al. “Cortical Control of a Prosthetic Arm for Self-Feeding.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 28 May 2008, www.nature.com/articles/nature06996.
- An, Christopher. “Neuroprosthetics – A Simple Guide from a Neuroscience Student.” Medium, NeuroTechX, 30 July 2018, medium.com/neurotechx/neuroprosthetics-a-simple-guide-from-a-neuroscience-student-7264740c10d3.
- Devlin, Hannah. “Mind-Controlled Robot Arm Gives Back Sense of Touch to Paralysed Man.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 13 Oct. 2016, www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/13/mind-controlled-robot-arm-gives-back-sense-of-touch-to-paralysed-man.
- *, Name. “Bionic Senses: How Neuroprosthetics Restore Hearing and Sight.” Science in the News, 16 Mar. 2015, sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2013/issue138a/.