60 minutes has covered [Dean Kamen]’s modular robotic arm. This thing is light weight, adjustable for different body frame sizes, modular, and eventually thought controlled. The system is currently functioning quite well, as you can see in the video. Current testers are controlling it with buttons under their toes, but the thought control is in the later stages of development. Sounds like science fiction right? You can see a monkey using a thought controlled arm to feed itself grapes, though we don’t think it is [Dean]’s arm.
Another cool feature of this arm is the fact that it changes its grip on your body depending on how much weight you are lifting. Lift something heavy and it grips harder. Though it has a lot of the same information, there is a little bit of different footage in [Dean]’s TED talk about the arm.
It seems to us, with microcontrollers becoming so cheap and accessible that we should be seeing more home made contraptions in this area. Are any of you working with prosthetics?