Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Woman gets bionicle arm

Mitchell is the fourth person, and first woman, to receive a "bionic" arm which allows her to control parts of the device by her thoughts alone:

The device, designed by physicians and engineers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, works by detecting the movements of a chest muscle that has been rewired to the stumps of nerves that once went to her now-missing limb.

Last summer, surgeons took the first step by rewiring the skin above her left breast so that when the area is stimulated by impulses from the bionic arm, the skin sends a message to the region of her brain that feels "hand." Future arms will also be able to perform more complicated motions. She recently spent time at the Chicago hospital trying out a prototype with six motors, not just the three of her current prosthesis. It will theoretically allow her to reach for things over her head.

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