How Thoughts Can Become Deeds
September 14, 2005 4:46 PM   Subscribe

First Brain-Powered Bionic Prosthesis
Jesse Sullivan is the first man (link to press release) to recieve a ground breaking new bionic arm (PDF fact sheet) that is controlled by his mind and a 64-bit microprocessor. His new arm, that even allows him to "feel" objects, is the result of a radical surgical process called nerve-transfer surgery that took nerves going to his arms and rerouted them to his chest.
Want to see it in action? 1, 2, 3 (embedded QT links) and some images of Jesse in action.
Previous MeFi bionic threads.
posted by fenriq (40 comments total)
 
...that is controlled by his mind and a 64-bit microprocessor.

Is that as powerful as a Commodore 64?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:06 PM on September 14, 2005


Direct links to the mpg files (I couldn't get them to play otherwise):

http://i.timeinc.net/popsci/video/RobotArm_1.mpg
http://i.timeinc.net/popsci/video/RobotArm_2.mpg
http://i.timeinc.net/popsci/video/RobotArm_3.mpg
posted by odinsdream at 5:08 PM on September 14, 2005


very cool. although i was (wistfully) expecting something a bit more metallic and Terminator 2-looking. y'know - something capable of crushing bricks or babies. or something.
posted by gnutron at 5:08 PM on September 14, 2005


Incredible.
posted by Freen at 5:09 PM on September 14, 2005


We have the technology...
posted by shoepal at 5:10 PM on September 14, 2005


I didn't have any audio on the second clip, but I'm assuming the left pane was w/ a 'body movement' controlled arm and the right pane was 'mind controlled'? Amazing!! Can I have one??
posted by matty at 5:12 PM on September 14, 2005


Matty, yes.

You may have one.

The price? One real, flesh-based arm.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:19 PM on September 14, 2005


Wow, im going to start taking a lot more risks.
posted by pwally at 5:21 PM on September 14, 2005


The price? One real, flesh-based arm.

That's not true. You could attach it to your chest as a third arm. I want one on my back too.
posted by mert at 5:35 PM on September 14, 2005


Absolutely, Iindisputably, Uniquely Fucking Fantastic.

Amazing. Astounding. Words fail.
posted by SweetJesus at 5:47 PM on September 14, 2005


:(

It didn't make the na-na-na-na-na-nah sound.

If I were a scientist, that would be a key feature.
posted by filmgeek at 6:04 PM on September 14, 2005


Is this the next thing to replace hard working assembly line robots?
posted by Ron at 6:23 PM on September 14, 2005


That guy's got to learn how to dance RIGHT NOW.
posted by redteam at 6:29 PM on September 14, 2005


Wow.
posted by AllesKlar at 6:30 PM on September 14, 2005


Very nice.
But more hurdles to overcome - compact long lasting power source, silent electric muscles... oh, and the strength to rip the drivers door off a 1972 Suburban and drag out the bad guy.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:38 PM on September 14, 2005


Very cool. I'll be in the market for some bionic knees in the comming decades, I'm sure.

How long before we can build limbs like this that can transmit feedback? So you could dig out your house key out of your pocket, leaving your pocketknife, and coins there?
Or pick up an egg, toss it in the air, and catch it, and then, crush it.

Are they going to give this guy his driver's licence back?
Who is at fault if he crashes?
posted by Balisong at 8:17 PM on September 14, 2005


We are living in the future.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:26 PM on September 14, 2005


<geek>uncanny the Commodore 64 was an 8bit computer, 64bit is fancy schmancy ala the AMD Athlon 64 which is most likely schmancier than what's in your box.</geek>
posted by zeoslap at 8:43 PM on September 14, 2005


it was Commodore 64 for 64Kb of RAM. Which was tons, at the time :)
posted by fFish at 9:27 PM on September 14, 2005


Bloody amazing. Thanks, fenriq.
posted by blendor at 9:47 PM on September 14, 2005


Kick Ass!
posted by numlok at 9:50 PM on September 14, 2005


Robotic/mechanical prothesis that I've seen move when a sensor which is attached to a muscle, like a back muscle, moves. I thought this was different but it seems to be the same thing, or at least similar.

The difference is that the nerves that used to go to his arm now go to a muscle in his chest which then move when he thinks to move his arm. The sensor senses the chest muscle moving then moves the robotic arm.

The next step is to skip rewiring the nerves from the muscles and interface directly with the robotic arm. I assume that the nerves want feedback from a real muscle?
posted by tomplus2 at 10:02 PM on September 14, 2005


What I want to see is research into wiring up say rats to think in parallel. We would learn an aweful lot about how their brains word. One day we might be able to create a "Beowulf of Humans"; maybe a far simpler than true AI.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:46 AM on September 15, 2005


Screw the arm. I want a bionic eye.
posted by moonbiter at 2:34 AM on September 15, 2005


A massively parallel rat cluster supercomputer!

Neat.
posted by uncle harold at 3:59 AM on September 15, 2005


Well they've got just another 8 years to get me a smartgun link...

/original Cyberpunk player (and nerd extradordinaire)
posted by longbaugh at 5:13 AM on September 15, 2005


Yes, a rat super computer would be neat, but mostly we would just want to learn from it. OTOH, just imagine what a massively parallel human supercomputer can do!
posted by jeffburdges at 7:12 AM on September 15, 2005


We're already a massively parallel human supercomputer. Think the code has some bugs in it though...
posted by zeoslap at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2005


Anyone with more detailed information?

I would be interested in knowing if they really needed a 64bit processor or if something smaller would work. Why? because of the power requirements. I didn't read any place on the juice this requires and what size battery is strapped onto him. It's research and fantastic stuff, but would be curious to see some benchmarks.
posted by fluffycreature at 9:25 AM on September 15, 2005


Is that middle video, say, Jesse in the beginning and then Jesse after n months of physical therapy or something?
posted by thejoshu at 9:39 AM on September 15, 2005


> First Brain-Powered Bionic Prosthesis

Brain powered? It's brain controlled, not powered.

Words MEAN THINGS. Specific things. When you use the wrong ones, not only do you not manage to say what you mean, but you succeed in saying what you do NOT mean. And it makes you look stupid.
posted by spincycle at 9:42 AM on September 15, 2005


That's not true. You could attach it to your chest as a third arm. I want one on my back too.
posted by Specklet at 9:46 AM on September 15, 2005


I 'd like to know more about Jesse Sullivan than the bionic arms. He seems like such a laid back pot-belly kind of guy.

How'd you end up with bionic arms Jesse?
posted by foot at 11:04 AM on September 15, 2005


spincycle, I'd thank you for the correction but you're kind of an asshole. And yes, I did mean to say asshole there.
posted by fenriq at 11:26 AM on September 15, 2005


Ah, thanks tomplus2 - The next step is to skip rewiring the nerves from the muscles and interface directly with the robotic arm. I assume that the nerves want feedback from a real muscle?

Glad to know that this group hasn't beat me to it =)

Me, I want a cybernetic prehensile tail under direct nerve control.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:32 AM on September 15, 2005


Way Cool.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:53 PM on September 15, 2005


spincycle, I see that you're a teacher. You're kind of a tough-love teacher, aren'tcha?
posted by papercake at 2:17 PM on September 15, 2005


Thinking about it, I'd like a bionic hand that isn't attached to my body so I could send it on errands for me like Thing in the Addams Family. Maybe with a couple of bionic eyes too, one can shoot heat vision, the other can be x-ray. And one of the fingers should peel back to expose a really nice cigar cutter/bottle opener.

That would be pretty cool.
posted by fenriq at 2:25 PM on September 15, 2005


I want to see him perform "YMCA".
posted by Asparagirl at 2:46 PM on September 15, 2005


A massively parallel rat cluster supercomputer!

Yep. Ten rats in parallel find the cheese in 1/10th the time, but require 10 times the cheese.

Brain powered? It's brain controlled, not powered.

Actually, I'd argue that it's "Brain Directed", not controlled. Presumably the computer controls the arm, whereas the brain controls the computer. That would make it a "Brain-Directed Bionic Prosthesis", and the computer would be a "Brain-Controlled Bionic Prosthesis Controller."

Oh, and:

MetaFilter: Words MEAN THINGS.
posted by davejay at 4:07 PM on September 15, 2005


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