Les Baugh otti osaa testeihin, jossa testattiin MPL teknologian käytettävyyttä. Ennen raajojen saamista hänen piti mennä leikkaukseen jossa hänen olemassa olevat hermonsa uudelleenosoitettiin yhteensopiviksi koneisiin.
Tutkija Michael McLoughlin kommentoi asiaa näin: ”Olemme vasta pääsemalla alkuun, tämä on kuin internetin ensimmäiset päivät. Tässä on uskomattoman paljon potentiaalia ja seuraavan 5-10 vuoden aikana tulemme näkemään uskomatonta kehitystä alalla.
A Colorado man has become the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear – and simultaneously control – two modular prosthetic limbs using his thoughts alone.
A Colorado man has made history at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), becoming the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to wear and simultaneously control not one, but two Modular Prosthetic Limbs (MPL). Most importantly, Les Baugh – who lost both of his arms in an electrical accident forty years ago – was able to operate the system by simply thinking about moving his limbs, performing a variety of tasks during a short training period.
During two weeks of testing, Baugh took part in a research effort to further assess the usability of the MPL technology, developed over the past decade as part of the Revolutionising Prosthetics Program. Before putting the limb system through the paces, Baugh had to undergo a surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital known as targeted muscle reinnervation.
“It’s a relatively new surgical procedure that reassigns nerves that once controlled the arm and the hand,” explained Johns Hopkins Trauma Surgeon Albert Chi, M.D. “By reassigning existing nerves, we can make it possible for people who have had upper-arm amputations to control their prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action they want to perform.”
After recovery, Baugh visited the Laboratory for training on the use of the MPLs. First, he worked with researchers on the pattern recognition system.
“We use pattern recognition algorithms to identify individual muscles that are contracting – how well they communicate with each other – and their amplitude and frequency,” Chi explained. “We take that information and translate that into actual movements within a prosthetic.”
Then Baugh was fitted for a custom socket for his torso and shoulders that supports the prosthetic limbs and also makes the neurological connections with the reinnervated nerves. While the socket got its finishing touches, the team had him work with the limb system through a Virtual Integration Environment (VIE) — a virtual-reality version of the MPL.
The VIE is completely interchangeable with the prosthetic limbs and through APL’s licensing process currently provides 19 groups in the research community with a low-cost means of testing brain–computer interfaces. It is used to test novel neural interface methods and study phantom limb pain, and serves as a portable training system.
By the time the socket was finished, Baugh said he was more than ready to get started. When he was fitted with the socket, and the prosthetic limbs were attached, he said “I just went into a whole different world.” He moved several objects, including an empty cup from a counter-shelf height to a higher shelf, a task that required him to coordinate the control of eight separate motions to complete.
Principal Investigator Michael McLoughlin: “I think we are just getting started. It’s like the early days of the Internet. There is just a tremendous amount of potential ahead of us, and we’ve just started down this road. And I think the next five to 10 years are going to bring phenomenal advancement.”