Artificial limbs have advanced quite a bit since the days of the pirate peg leg, but not nearly enough for DARPA. The Pentagon agency has kicked off a new phase of its "Revolutionizing Prosthetics" program that sets the hefty goal of creating a fully-functional human limb directly controlled by the brain within five years, according to Wired's Danger Room.
DARPA has already backed the "Luke" prosthetic arm controlled by foot-operated joysticks, the brainchild of Segway inventor Dean Kamen. But the neurally-controlled prosthetic project requires scientists to make neural-recording interfaces that last longer than their current measly two-year lifespan.
A more sensitive interface that detects more brain activity would also be good. DARPA's existing prototypes can only transmit 500 events per second, compared to the thousands of neural communications involved in a simple motion such as using an arm to eat.
The new goal for neurally-controlled limbs is a prosthetic that has a 70-year lifespan and perfect integration with the human body. But as Wired's Danger Room notes, DARPA has already planned for failures by encouraging researchers to push the limits of current interfaces -- better to study failure in a lab before a military veteran finds that his or her device has stopped working.
Given that this is DARPA, the project also mentions using brain implants that interface directly with the human nervous system. Sounds like the agency managers might want a chat with Intel's researchers.
[via Wired's Danger Room]
Third guy from the right is demo-ing the new Tony Stark Prosthetic leg.....
Why not use the money spent on prosthetic research Robot Soldiers and send them to war, not people?!!!
because there would be no dispute between people and there would be no point of fighting.
Oh I realize technology has advanced light years from Mr Peg days, but gee this must be such a tough road for these peopel. As the disablity is so visable and it must challenge the balance and have some negative side affects with their body.
Comment without comment:
"When the Army considers the cost of upgrading its Humvee fleet, it should take time to consider the cost of each soldier it loses as a result of antiquated equipment, and the subsequent impact of that soldier’s loss..."
Capt. Wayne Hommer USA.
(the pen name of a U.S. Army officer serving on active duty in Iraq)